I dunno how I missed this a few days ago, but it gets my award for most ridiculous statement of the millenium.

From Setanta.com

Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner believes he will be better than Sweden star Zlatan Ibrahimovic within three years.

The 21-year-old Denmark international is still yet to establish himself as a regular starter at Arsenal, but he is convinced that he will have a breakthrough year next season.

And, ahead of his country’s World Cup qualifier against Sweden on Saturday, he has revealed that he plans to outshine the Inter striker in the coming years.

“In about three years, I will be better than Zlatan,” he told BT.

“He is older than me and has now reached his peak as the top scorer in Serie A, but I have a plan, I believe in it and I am ready.

“Next season, I can finally make my breakthrough and then I still have two years to become better than Zlatan – and I will.

“By then I will be close to my peak and will be able to look upon myself as one of the world’s greatest strikers.”

Bendtner prancing around in his pink boots

Bendtner prancing around in his pink boots

Arsene Wenger generally gets praised, and rightfully so, for his shrewd investments – poaching foreign youth players from around Europe and the rest of the world and training them up in England to become world class players, i.e. Cesc Fabregas. Nicklas Bendtner though, has to go down as a bad apple, one of his worst prodigys ever – the shit goals to games ratio, the missed sitters in almost every match he plays in, the ridiculous pink boots and an ego apparently even bigger than that of his Scandinavian rival, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

I could go on and write this entry about how bad of a player Bendtner is, but speaking of Ibrahimovic I’d rather write my first proper ‘blog’ about a player I like than one I dislike. And seeing as the general consensus about Bendtner is that he is shit, it is probably more interesting to write about one who divides opinion.

I think if Ibrahimovic moves to Barcelona with Eto’o moving the other way as rumours suggest, it will partly be to go and prove all his doubters wrong – doubters who are predominantly Premier league fans who have never seen him play, bar a couple of poor games against Man U and Liverpool in the Champions League, and of course Martin O’ Neil who famously called him one of the world’s most overrated footballers – but I digress.. they are all horribly wrong anyway, including MON.

At first when I read about the rumour, I was thinking his style wouldn’t really suit Barcelona. Ibra looks amazing in Italian football where he generally has more space and time than he would in Spanish league football, which is fast and furious and largely based on counter attacking – and, I think he plays better with a 2nd striker, while Barca of course play one striker in a 4-5-1 formation. If he took Eto’o’s lone striker role at Barca he would be largely isolated and perhaps struggle a bit more than he does at Inter where he has been partnered up front with all kinds of players.

However, with Xavi’s unmatched ability to put a ball exactly where he wants it, I can’t help but think of how much more rewarding it would be for him to pick out Ibrahimovic as a tall, strong target man from the halfway line than it is with Eto’o, who’s best qualities come when the ball is played along the ground to his feet.  Along with the fact that despite Spanish league football being so open, minnow teams generally don’t press Barcelona as much as bigger teams do.  In such matches, Ibrahimovic would have the time to create the breathtaking magic play on the pitch that he and only a few players in the world can when given the time, opportunity and space.  Ibrahimovic’s technique and control of the ball even when being closed down by pressing teams too is as good as Messi or Iniesta’s when he is at his best, especially for a player of the tall mould who usually trip up over themselves when they try to dribble with the ball close to their feet.

This is why I feel Ibrahimovic could be a better striker for Barcelona than Eto’o is, despite his amazing treble-winning season with them.  With only 1 year left on his contract and some poor dips in form through the season that frustrated at times, the move would make sense.

zlatan

One thing Eto’o has on Ibrahimovic though is pace – and in abundance.  Not that Ibra is at all a slow player, but especially in a league like Spain’s where teams often try to hit teams on the counter, Samuel Eto’o thrives much more than Ibrahimovic probably would.  In some of the quick, open matches against the bigger clubs in Spain, Ibrahimovic could find himself lost out on the pitch unless he dramatically ups his workrate – but that is not what he is about and it would be stupid for the press and the fans to call him overrated and lazy in these cases – but that is probably what would happen.  Look at the treatment of Berbatov at Man U this season – a very similar player in character.  Because of this, there is a danger of the repeated mantra that can surround star players of Ibra’s calibre, “He doesn’t cut it in the big games”, coming to haunt him, and that is already said about him by some.  It would be even harsher out of  the constant expectancy to perform in every game with such a big move to Barcelona.

I also wonder whether Ibrahimovic’s attitude would go down well at Barcelona. Despite maturing from his early days, he is known in the football world for having a big ego – maybe the media overblows that and I’ve seen them take joking comments from him out of context to portray him as arrogant and self-centred (despite the fact he can be self-deprecating and humourous on occasions), but you can’t help but think it yourself sometimes when you see how lacking his workrate is on the pitch (not that every striker has to run around headless chicken style like Carlos Tevez or Dirk Kuyt, but still..). And Barcelona, despite their amazing successes, are a relatively humble team and Ibra might seem out of place there because of that.  He wouldn’t be the star man of the team like he is at Inter. Alongside players like Xavi, Iniesta and Messi he would be just another amazing player. His ego wouldn’t be stroked as much either like it as at Inter, receiving compliments like being told that he is the best player in the world by Jose Mourinho. Also, with the likes of Diego Forlan’s and David Villa’s amazing goalscoring rate, as well as that of Lionel Messi’s in his own team, it is likely he wouldn’t be the league’s best goal scorer like he has been in Italy this year.

I don’t know whether Ibrahimovic would go down well with the Barcelona fans, he is a love him or hate him type of character, really – but if he does sign for them and starts scoring wondergoals like this I’m sure they would grow to him in no time:

However I’m just speculating, and it is silly season so the whole rumour could just be a load of made up paper garbage – probably is.

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Genesis

06Jun09

A year ago I gave up my smoking habit, lately I’ve been cutting down on the black coffee, currently having 1-2 a day – but still, one addiction remains that effects my blood pressure as much as the other 2, and the physical and mental health of millions likewise across the globe – football.

Anyway, enough with the stupid opening – the reason I’m starting this blog is because I can’t get enough of football.  I wake up every morning and check the latest paper garbage rumours, then I load Football Manager, talk to friends about football online, go on football forums, play some Fifa 09 on the Xbox 360 and of course watch any football if its on.  I’ll even probably tune in to the North Korea vs Iran World Cup qualifier in a few hours – the battle of the rogue nuclear states, epic.  Also, another reason I’m starting this is because I can’t help feeling like airing my views everytime I hear idiots say stuff like “Ibrahimovic is overrated” or paraphrase whatever bullshit Andy Townsend has said on TV and present it as their own original opinion.

I gave this blog the silly title so it sticks in your head and hopefully you’ll enjoy it and come back to read more, as well as it being a dedication to the greatest football commentator of all time, Gol TV’s resident psychotic geordie Ray Hudson.  He comes up with poetic genius like that every minute commentating on Spanish football (especially Barca matches), but he uttered these particular immortal words after what is maybe my favourite goal of all time, Ronaldinho’s wondergoal against Villareal in 2006:

Also, I’m a Liverpool fan – so you probably will notice a little bias towards them in my holy scripture, though i’ll try my best to be impartial – but just to get it out in the open now, I felt we deserved to win the league this season and not United (cue barrage of hatred from any United fan who may read this)




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