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The long list of controversies of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on and off the field

Wherever Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes, controversy is sure to follow. He proved it once again this week with more inexplicable antics on the field.

The Milan striker was caught slapping Cesar Azpilicueta on the back in the final moments of Sweden’s World Cup qualifying defeat to Spain, which limited his country to the play-offs.

While he miraculously escaped expulsion, his reserve does enough damage, and the 40-year-old will now miss the play-off semifinals next March.

It is the latest in a long list of controversies that have led the Swede into trouble, not all happening in the field.

Here, Sportsmail Take a look at some of the forward’s less edifying moments throughout his career.

1. Reject Arsenal

When it came to taking on the biggest names in the game, Ibrahimovic started early.

As a promising talent in Malmo, the eyes of Europe’s best clubs were focused on his progress in Sweden, including those at Arsenal.

Asked by Arsene Wenger for a trial, Ibrahimovic did not take the invitation warmly.

“I didn’t have a trial, I came to talk to Arsenal,” he revealed after leaving Malmo for Ajax.

“But Wenger wanted me to make a judgment and I said, ‘I don’t make judgments. You know who I am “.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic rejected Arsenal after rejecting the idea of ​​having a trial

Zlatan Ibrahimovic rejected Arsenal after rejecting the idea of ​​having a trial

2. Confrontation with Lukaku

Once teammates, Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku seemed to have lost all camaraderie when they met in the Milan derby earlier this year.

The pair, who once lined up for Manchester United, found themselves literally face to face as they faced off at the San Siro.

The flash point, which also saw the Swede tell the Belgian forward to ‘Go do your voodoo shit, burrito’, resulted in a fine and a one-match ban for both individuals.

Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku were involved in a heated raid in San Siro in January

Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku were involved in a heated raid in San Siro in January

Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku were involved in a heated raid in San Siro in January

3. Rift with Guardiola

While Ibrahimovic has picked a good number of fights during his career, none have been as prolonged as his break with Pep Guardiola.

Flying in Barcelona before the Spaniard took over, the forward saw his chances diminish before being loaned out to Milan just 12 months after the head coach’s arrival.

Zlatan has made his feelings towards Guardiola clear in no uncertain terms, calling him a ‘coward’ and stating that he is ‘not a man’ among many other insults.

Since leaving Barcelona, ​​Ibrahimovic has taken every opportunity to make fun of Pep Guardiola

Since leaving Barcelona, ​​Ibrahimovic has taken every opportunity to make fun of Pep Guardiola

Since leaving Barcelona, ​​Ibrahimovic has taken every opportunity to make fun of Pep Guardiola

4. Sexist comments in Sweden

With his extensive resume, Ibrahimovic can often come across as someone of the wise in the world. But that doesn’t always prove the case.

The forward found himself making chauvinistic remarks at an award ceremony in 2014, when he regretted being asked to compare himself to female soccer player Lotta Schelin.

He continued to make matters worse when he defended the award for a new car to Anders Svensson after breaking a record for plugs. When it was suggested that female star Therese Sjorgan should have received something similar for her record feat, Ibrahimovic suggested that a bike with her autograph would suffice.

5. Investment in Hammarby

Ibrahimovic’s brand of loyalty extends only to him. Malmo fans learned that the hard way last year.

A club icon, he was honored with a stadium off the club’s field in 2019 to celebrate his contribution to both the club and Sweden as a whole.

The wellness factor didn’t last long though, as all the goodwill quickly dissipated when Ibrahimovic announced an investment partnership with archrivals Hammarby.

Needless to say, the statue didn’t last long after that, and fans ripped it apart to the point of ruin.

Malmo fans destroyed a statue dedicated to Ibrahimovic after his association with Hammarby

Malmo fans destroyed a statue dedicated to Ibrahimovic after his association with Hammarby

Malmo fans destroyed a statue dedicated to Ibrahimovic after his association with Hammarby

6. Participation of the betting company

Ibrahimovic came close to having his career cut short earlier this year due to a misguided investment with a gambling company.

It was suggested that the Swede was facing a three-year ban, one that would have effectively ended his playing career, for becoming an ambassador for Malta-based firm Bethard in 2018.

Instead, he was awarded a lucky escape and a fine of 50,000 euros (£ 43,000) after being found guilty of breaking UEFA regulations.

7. His infamous attack on France (and its referees)

Ibrahimovic rarely apologizes, but was forced to back down once after an incredible outburst during Paris Saint-Germain’s shock loss to Bordeaux in 2015.

“I have never seen this in my 15 years playing soccer. I’ve been playing for 15 years and I’ve never seen [good] referee in this shitty country. They don’t even deserve PSG in this country ”, was the eloquent spiel from the Swede after the game.

His words were picked up by supporters and politicians alike, including France’s sports minister Patrick Kanner, who apologized to him.

He did, although not on his opinion of the referees.

Ibrahimovic got into trouble with the French public for comments he made in 2015

Ibrahimovic got into trouble with the French public for comments he made in 2015

Ibrahimovic got into trouble with the French public for comments he made in 2015

8. Receive a broken rib from your own teammate.

Known for his fighting, it’s no wonder that Ibrahimovic can come to blows with opponents and teammates alike.

One of the toughest encounters for the Swede occurred during his first season in Milan, where he came to blows with the American Oguchi Onyewu.

The former Newcastle defender objected to a lunge from the forward, causing the pair to come to blows and Zlatan to break a rib in the process.

9. His kung fu kick kicking out

A black belt in taekwondo, Ibrahimovic has put his martial arts training to good use with some outstanding intuitive goals throughout his career.

He is also guilty of using it in moments of madness. This was no more apparent than against Saint Etienne in a league clash in 2012.

With no hope of winning the ball from Stephane Ruffier, the Swede left his tacks on the visiting goalkeeper’s chest, leaving the referee with no choice but to give Zlatan his marching orders.

10. His battle with Tyrone Mings

When facing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it was hard to tell whether Tyrone Mings was being incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.

The pair were embroiled in a painful duel in which the Bournemouth defender appeared to deliberately kick the Manchester United forward’s head.

Ibrahimovic’s retribution was an unsubtle nudge to the side of Mings’s head, an action that resulted in his expulsion.

Ibrahimovic was sent off for an elbow on Tyrone Mings during a forceful clash at Old Trafford

Ibrahimovic was sent off for an elbow on Tyrone Mings during a forceful clash at Old Trafford

Ibrahimovic was sent off for an elbow on Tyrone Mings during a forceful clash at Old Trafford

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