David Beckham says Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still among football’s best as the Manchester United striker won Sweden’s Golden Ball for the 11th time.Ibrahimovic, who was Beckham’s team-mate at Paris Saint-Germain before the former England captain retired, has been awarded Sweden’s best player accolade every year since 2005 – bar 2006 – and will be honoured with a statue outside the Friends Arena – the country’s national stadium.
Beckham paid tribute to his “close friend” Ibrahimovic in a video message at the awards ceremony on Monday, and revealed why he is delighted the 35-year-old Swede is now at his beloved United.
“His physique, his passion, his love for the game, hasn’t changed,” Beckham said, as reported by TV4Sport . “He’s still one of the greatest players that has ever played the game – one of the reasons why I’m happy he is now playing at Manchester United, my team. Thanks for that, Zlatan.”
On accepting his award, Ibrahimovic said: “It feels unreal. Many are thinking ‘Why him?’ and so on, but after all the hard work over 15 years in the national team and 20 years in my club career, it feels like it’s being appreciated.
“You usually get this after you die, but I still feel alive. When I die, this (statue) will live on forever.”
Beckham also admitted his favourite Ibrahimovic goal was his 30-yard overhead kick for Sweden in their 4-2 win over England in 2012, insisting only the United forward is capable of scoring such a goal.
Ibrahimovic has scored six Premier League goals for Jose Mourinho’s side this season after signing for the club in the summer, but missed the 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Saturday due to suspension.
United are sixth in the table, nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but Beckham revealed Ibrahimovic will not tolerate losing.
“For me, Zlatan is a player who has class, always wants to win, and he proved that when I moved to PSG,” said Beckham. “He was one of those players that it doesn’t matter whether we were playing an important match in the French league, or on the training field, he wanted to win.
“If he wasn’t winning, he was like one of my children. He would get upset, he would get angry, he would lose it. Not that my kids lose it, but Zlatan does. For me he is a winner.”
Source: Sky Sports