Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome (Updated Below)


Photo credit: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty


UPDATE:
Please allow me to dedicate this song to the newest member of the Blaugrana:


17 comments:

R Malik said...

The most complete centre forward since Van Basten. Should go down a storm in Catalonia. Although the story of him once impersonating a copper in a red light district is probably the greatest thing he ever did/will do.

bubs said...

Isn't Ibrahimovic the Chelsea owner? Am I betraying my complete lack of football knowledge by saying that?

Ahsan said...

R Malik:

Wouldn't fellers by the name of Ronaldo or Sheva take issue with that statement?

Bubs:

No and yes respectively.

bubs said...

Okay, I Googled "Chelsea owner" and I was pretty close. All these damn Ruskies have similar sounding names.

Ahsan said...

Bubs:

Ibra is Swedish. 0 for 2 so far.

bubs said...

I'm going to stop commenting on this post before I embarrass myself any further.

Nabeel said...

Ahsan, if you were faced with Ibra vs Villa, who would you have taken? And if Eto'o had renewed the contract for two more years without too much fuss would you have been happy with that?

Nabeel said...

And Sheva?! WHAT?!

Ronaldo, Ronaldo, and no one else. The only complete forward around in the past decade. Speed, power, positioning, technique, right foot, left foot, header, tricks, flicks, everything. Henry comes close, but that's all it is. Close.

Ahsan said...

Nabeel:

I've been on record as saying I wanted David Villa; I think he would have been a better fit.

But I definitely prefer Ibra to the Eto'o-for-2-years thing because I believe you have to revamp any title winning team and can't let things get stale. Eto'o would never have performed the way he did this year anyway, if he was a stock, then Barca bought low and sold high (even though the price doesn't actually reflect that, he's worth more than 20 million for sure).

R Malik said...

Ahsan:

Van Basten could do it all, from volleys (Euro 88 final = jizz in my pants), tap ins, 30 yard screamers, header, left foot, right, overhead kicks. His fucking nickname was 'The Greatest'. Nobody has ever had that nickname, or has it currently. Its testament to the man. And I think it was cruel that he had to retire at 32, but at least we didn't see him turn into a embarrassment (Shevchenko) or an overweight journeyman (Ronaldo).
Shevchenko was awesome at Milan, and I'll be the first to say that, because that was when Channel 4 had the rights to Serie A on their weekly show 'Gazzetta football italia' (one of the best shows ever, James Richardson is/was a God). However, a lot of what he did was right foot based, largely bereft of headers, and very fine. (No scrappy Inzaghi-esque tap ins). As for Ronaldo, yes, their was this 'Phenomenon' who blew up Eindhoven, Inter and Madrid but I'll have to exclude him from the list once again due to lack of headed goals (in fact not the best when it came to aerial ability), and not one for long rangers.

Ibrahimovic is the complete package IMO. Long range, tap ins, headers, scrappy, and the thing which links him most with Van Basten is his ball control and touch. Of a unique level for a tall man.
Lastly, I think Batistuta was closer to Van Basten than either Shevchenko or Ronaldo.

zeyd said...

Ibra would be the complete package, if he didn't go missing every other game and didn't sulk and pout when the ball doesn't reach him exactly where he wants. How he'll fit into the constant upfield pressure that Barca employ, I do not know.

He's basically a better, more physical version of Berbadoll. He'll do well but is never worth 40m plus frickin Etoo. Barca's been ripped off.

jjy said...

The most complete centre forward since Van Basten.

That made me barf in my mouth. twice. now i have to go brush my teeth.

agree with everything zeyd says above.

R Malik said...

zeyd and jjy:

Thanks for the feedback.
Now, having been a Football fan ever since Roger Milla and his hip shaking goal celebrations lit up Italia 90 (my earliest footballing memories), I've seen some great players. Like, seen them play live and witnessed their moments of magic in 'what were you doing when....' moments. So many greats; divinely ponytailed Italians (my favourite of all time FYI), Romanians with left pegs that could open cans of beans, moody Bulgarians with scintillating turns of pace, and Spaniards who could play any position bar goalie (Luis Enrique you last exponent of Total football beauty). Not forgetting Frenchmen who literally floated across the pitch. I mean fucking floated like a ballerina.
The reason for me saying this is not to boast or anything, but just to put forward the fact that I know a thing or two about football, footballers, and comparisons between footballers. From experience. (Which kind of negates the possibility of boasting). (Kind of).

So, Ibrahimovic. He has a personality that makes him more enemies than it does fans. In fact I'm sure there must be Swedes who wouldn't mind seeing him fuck up at times, much the same way there were Englishmen who hated Prince Naseem Hamed and longed for him to fuck up. Cue Barrera I guess eh?
Basically, first off you aren't buying a consumate professional when you sign him, thats for sure. Yes there is sulking and whineing, its all part of the package, but its not performance affecting, (150 odd career goals in 350 odd career matches is a decent return) nor should it affect his candidacy for most complete centre forward since the Greatest himself; Marco Van Basten.
Secondly, this is the guy who just finished top scorer in Serie A, which despite losing some of its lure in the last few years to the Premier League, has still not declined as one of the best defensive leagues and one of the hardest to score in.
Thirdly, and I by no means base my opinions solely on those of others, here is some expert opinion on the Ibrahimovic Van Basten debate:

Capello echoes what I've been saying:

http://goal.com/en/news/10/italy/2009/07/28/1409271/ibrahimovic-will-become-stronger-than-van-basten-england

Bergkamp (kind of) compares the two (gotta love how media puts words into peoples mouths):

http://www.goal.com/en/news/10/italy/2009/04/03/1189532/dennis-begkamp-zlatan-ibrahimovic-is-like-marco-van-basten

And here is some proper education. The similarities are frightening. How or why you'd (still) want to 'barf' in your mouth and brush your teeth is beyond me after you've watched this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxh017epEqA

Here endeth the lesson(?)

zeyd said...

I think the 150 in 350 is the most telling stat.

Compare that with Van Basten's 270 in 370 and in terms of output there's no comparison.

Also, as I've mentioned, Ibra goes missing for stretches and a truly world class striker is always in the game.

Examples:

Ibra couldn't even manage a single goal in the '06 world cup. After that, he went 12 straight Euro qualifying games without a goal. 12! That's two years without an international goal.

Add the damning stat of him never scoring a goal in the CL knockout stage and that's why so many question him.

As for Van Basten, he may have been a more complete striker than many others since, but that's also a symptom of how the Dutch played the game. Gullit, of course, being one such example of Dutch completeness.

But when one thinks of strikers and their attributes, (pace, power, and finishing) there's only one Ronaldo.

AKS said...

The most complete forward after Van Basten was Robbie Fowler.

Zeyd, Ibra is quite a bit better than that chooth Berbatov; though I'm not sure if he's worth that much money.

And: Bendtner > Ibra!

Asfandyar said...

AKS:

I hate having to say this, but I think Shearer was more 'complete' than Fowler.

Fowler though was a ridiculously 'natural' finisher.

R Malik said...

zeyd:

True, Ibrahimovic's goalscoring record can't really compare with Van Basten's at the moment. However, he is 28 and has a couple of years to really explode and considering a player is meant to be at his peak at around 29/30 then a Catalan goal-fest is a possibility. He'll receive mad service there. All depends on how he adapts to the style of play. This writer thinks he'll do so with aplomb.
Unfortunately I'm going to have to ignore all the international stats you've mentioned due to the simple fact that this is one of the most defensive international teams of probably the last 10 years (and not bad at it either!). When on international duty, Ibrahimovic's job is to hold the ball up and bring smaller nippier guys like Allback/Wilhelmsonn/Ljunberg into proceedings. Believe me I've sat through some Swedish neo-Catenaccio-fests and they aren't to do with getting the ball down and playing, I can tell you that much!
Sweden's strength is producing workman-like players such as Wilhelmsonn, Niclas Alexandersson, Tobias Linderoth, Kim Kallstrom. Ibrahimovic is very much the exception to the rule and they aren't going to change there tried and trusted Lars Lagerback school of boredom style for one player so they use him how they need him, as a latter day Kennet Andersson.
As for the Champions League stat of never having scored a goal in the knockout stages, it is a big minus and one I cannot argue around. Once again however, I think now is the best time for him to break that duck. This time next year, it will be well and truly history.
Ronaldo was great. I mean, like 'Heavyweight boxer losing his title and getting injured then recovering and beating the guy who he lost the title to' great. However, lack of aerial ability (although did he really need to score headers?) and spending just under half of his career injured and leaving Inter for Real after Inter had done so much for him marks him down in my book.

Aks:

Robbie Fowler was the best finisher I ever saw. However, as far as most complete centre forward is concerned, he doesn't even come in the top ten.

Asfandyar:

Definately. Shearer was a beast and could score goals from anywhere and against anyone, even if Cannavaro did man mark the crap out of him at Wembley in a World cup qualifier in '97 (Cannavaro's first step to greatness; owning Shearer).