The Life of Zlatan Ibrahimović

"Now go back to [watching] baseball." After two seasons, Zlatan Ibrahimović is leaving the LA Galaxy. This is his journey from a troubled childhood to a global soccer superstar.

He came from a rough childhood to become one of soccer's biggest stars

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born in Sweden in 1981. He was the child of an arranged marriage between a Croatian Catholic mother and a Bosnian Muslim father. When he was 2 years old, his parents divorced. He went to live with his mother, who would punish him by hitting him with a wooden spoon. At 6 years old, he joined FBK Balkan, a soccer club founded by Yugoslav immigrants. When he was 9, Swedish social services sent him to live with his alcoholic father after finding his half-sister was dealing drugs. As a child, he had two heroes: Ronaldo and Muhammad Ali. At 17 years old, he earned a black belt in taekwondo. In 1999, he made his start as a professional player in Malmö.

In the span of 10 years, he played for Ajax Amsterdam, Juventus F.C, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, Milan AC and won a national championship with each club. In 2002, he met Helena Sager, a former model who was 11 years his senior. They went on to have two sons: Maximilian born in 2006, and Vincent born in 2008. When he was 30, he joined Paris Saint-Germain. By 2012, to "zlatan" had become a verb in both France and Sweden and was even added to the official Swedish dictionary. In 2016, he left Paris. The same year, in the middle of the European Championship, he announced he would retire from international play at the end of the tournament.

He had scored 62 goals in 116 games for the Swedish team. At age 34, he joined the British club Manchester United. Three years later, he left Europe to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. On October 8 2019, his hometown of Malmö unveiled a statue of him in front of the stadium where he'd made his start. On November 13 2019, after totaling 52 goals and 17 assists in 53 starts with Los Angeles. Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced he would be ending his American adventure.