Zlatan autobiography

Missing Passages from ‘Jag ar Zlatan’: Appendix I, things Ibrahimovic hates

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Unfortunately for readers of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s awesomely outrageous autobiography (published in Italian and Swedish in late 2011), our traditional, “human” book format couldn’t contain all of his greatness. Even the English translation included in his iPad app proved too restrictive, leaving literally millions of passages on the proverbial cutting room floor. Thankfully, ProSoccerTalk has recovered one of these curiously-timed passages:

Of course, while I was telling this man how he should write my book, we would often talk about the many things that are wrong with the world. Often, it can be a sad, sad place. But Zlatan is not a sad man, and to give something to the fans that is about anything but my perpetual success would be wrong.  The book must tell the true story of the best player in the world.

But then we thought: Would history look kindle on us if we chose to keep any of Zlatan’s beliefs from his fans? I played the role of history and answered the question: No, I would not.

Once my writer told me about appendices and I agreed they should be a real thing, it made sense to list all the world’s wrongs in one place. Please, do not blame me for their existence. Blame yourselves.

There are exactly 10 problems with the world:

1. Dwelling on titles – I hate this. I don’t prioritize winning league titles (never have) which is why I decided not to win the scudetto in 2012. Yes, it was my decision (the coverage will say otherwise). It made me sick, hearing so many people talking about Zlatan finished first for almost 10 straight years. Soccer is not about individual accomplishments. That title streak had to go.

2. Diego Milito – He’ll always be Rebound to me. If a hat trick in a Milan derby was so important, why hasn’t anybody bothered to do it 62 years? Some questions are so obvious, they don’t have to be asked. Milito will always be the player you buy after Zlatan tells you he’s leaving. Milan will call him soon.

3. 12-yard penalty kicks – Boring. I hate them. There is no honor from making a penalty kick from only 12 yards away. It’s emotional seppuku. Once, I saw Rebound convert two in a Milan derby. Could he do the same from the top of the arc? 22 yards is nothing for Zlatan. Can Rebound say the same?

4. Coachella – Seriously. It’s horrible. I hate it so much. They asked if they could use Zlatan’s likeness for a hologram that would play lead guitar during Radiohead’s set. I said, “Please wait until I’m dead to destroy my soul.” I made $12,000,000 last year and can’t justify spending two krona on that jaded cash trap.

5. Your fake blog that thinks I know the future – Stop being stupid. I hate you. If, in theory, I knew the future, I would not be able to tell anybody. As any young boy trying to hide his comic books from Sanela knows, superpowers can’t be flaunted. You have to live lonely and isolated knowing you can never share your true self with the world. Zlatan is not lonely and isolated, therefore Zlatan can’t tell the future. Flawless logic.

6. Knowing the future – It’s lonely. And isolating. I hate it.

7. Not being able to tell people about being bought by Real Madrid – Silvio doesn’t know this yet, but I have decided I will must bring the decima to Real Madrid. My powers transcend Mourinho’s, so it only makes sense. I already sent a text to the Philosopher saying “Oh, please stay at Barça one more year. You’re my hero and” blah, blah, blah – it didn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t, of course. Sigh.

8. Gigi Buffon – That Buffon failed to thank me for Juventus’s scudetto is very painful. He thanked Alessandro, Pavel, David. He even acknowledged Mauro, whose hair was so inferior to Zlatan’s that he eventually cut it. How can Buffon not see that I wanted Juventus to win? I hate him. How else would they have won?

9. IKEA – I am Swedish. That doesn’t mean I know how to put together that couch. It’s furniture for university kids. I am a soccer icon. I’m tempted to buy the company just so I can hide all the screws. I so hate screws.

10. Playing for Sweden – I was forced to decline an invitation to hunt white tigers from helicopters because Sweden has qualified for Euro 2012. I hate this, though hunting with weapons was starting to bore me. I have been told there’s a new documentary were a child uses a bow and arrow to battle other children? Clearly my crossbow has become passé.

I know there are many things in your life that you hate, but I allow myself only 10. I am Zlatan. Of course.

Thanks, but no thanks: Sampaoli turns down vacant Argentina job

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 18:  Head coach Jorge Sampaoli of Chile looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Spain and Chile at Maracana on June 18, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli says he has turned down an offer to manage the Argentina national team.

Sampaoli tells Sevilla’s website “I had a call from the president of the (Argentine football) federation, but it would be irresponsible for me to leave Sevilla.”

Sampaoli was hired by Sevilla last month to replace new Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery.

The Argentine-born Sampaoli led Chile to its first Copa America title in 2015.

Argentina has been without a coach since Gerardo Martino stepped down earlier this month after losing a second consecutive Copa America final.

Preseason roundup: Chelsea fall to Real Madrid; Man United win big

ANN ARBOR, MI - JULY 30:  Willian #22 of Chelsea defends against Marcelo Vieira Da Silva #12 of Real Madrid during the first half at Michigan Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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A roundup of Saturday’s preseason action involving Premier League sides, including the 2016 International Champions Cup…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Real Madrid 3-2 Chelsea

Marcelo scored twice in the opening 26 minutes at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., as Real Madrid picked up their first ICC victory of the preseason. It was 3-0 before halftime after Mariano Mejia beat no. 2 goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who started the game and gave way to Thibaut Courtois at halftime, in the 37th minute.

Eden Hazard only pulled back the Blues’ consolation goals in the 80th and 90th minutes, meaning first-year manager Antonio Conte will have plenty of areas to target for improvement as the next 14 days roll by and Chelsea kick off their 2016-17 Premier League campaign Monday, Aug. 13, at home against West Ham United.

Manchester United 5-2 Galatasaray

The Zlatan Ibrahimovic era has officially begun at Manchester United after the most delightful of starts on Saturday. Ibrahimovic scored an acrobatic opening goal just four minutes into his Red Devils debut (watch at the link below), Wayne Rooney scored twice in the rout of Galatasaray, and Marcus Rashford showed once the kind of game-changing ability realized in his breakout 2015-16 season.

[ MORE: Zlatan scored a ridiculous scissor-kick goal on his debut ]

After entering the game at halftime, the 18-year-old was instantly the most dangerous player on the field, running at defenders at every opportunity and singlehandedly winning the penalty that resulted in Rooney’s second goal. Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata scored the fourth and fifth goals, respectively.

Elsewhere in preseason action

Liverpool vs. AC Milan (10 p.m. ET)
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Leicester City (11:30 p.m. ET)
Real Betis 1-1 Everton
FC Gronigen 0-1 Southampton
Bournemouth 1-0 Cardiff
Rangers 1-3 Burnley
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Hull City
Aston Villa 1-3 Middlesbrough
Wolves 0-4 Swansea City
Fulham 3-1 Crystal Palace
Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Watford
Montpellier 1-1 Sunderland
Plymouth 0-0 West Bromwich Albion

After 2015 World Cup success, Australian women stood for better wages — and won

MONCTON, NB - JUNE 21:  Australia celebrates the 1-0 win over Brazil during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 round of 16 match between Brazil and Australia at Moncton Stadium on June 21, 2015 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Long before the U.S. women’s soccer team filed a federal complaint over wage discrimination, the Australian women fought for better pay.

And won.

The Matildas, as they are known, will be among the 12 women’s soccer teams playing in Brazil next week when the Olympics get underway. Their strike following a successful run in last summer’s Women’s World Cup in Canada was significant as female athletes across sports fight for recognition and respect – including their American counterparts.

“In terms of being trailblazers, I’m not really sure. I think we just sort of went about it how we thought was necessary,” Australian defender Steph Catley said. “We felt we deserved more.”

The Matildas have made a quick ascent as one of the world’s elite teams. They gained national attention last year when they became the first team from Australia – male or female – to win a World Cup knockout round match by upsetting Brazil 1-0 and advancing to the quarterfinals.

The United States went on to win the World Cup with a 5-2 victory over Japan in the final.

Afterward, the U.S. women scheduled a pair of exhibition matches against Australia as part of a victory tour. But the Australian federation withdrew from those matches after the Matildas walked out of training camp and the players’ union said contract talks with the national federation had stalled.

The Matildas, whose contract had expired, said they had not been paid for two months heading into the walkout.

The salary for a national team player was equivalent to $14,475, based on a six-month playing period. That meant many of the players needed to have other jobs to make ends meet. Some players worked two club seasons, one at home in Australia and the other in the United States with the National Women’s Soccer League, meaning they played year-round.

The players were asking for a salary increase to $28,000 a year, as well as other benefits including improved accommodations and bonuses for international matches. The demands were part of larger bargaining that included the men’s national team and A-League players, and the Football Federation Australia at one point claimed the Matildas were being used as a pawn in the negotiations.

But there was a groundswell of support for the women, who have seen their popularity rise in Australia along with the team’s stature on the national stage.

American stars Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd, former player Julie Foudy and Canadian forward Christine Sinclair were among those who expressed support for the Australians. There were change.org petitions to support the team.

“The Matildas are courageously fighting for what is right. (hashtag) priclessrolemodels,” Lloyd posted to Twitter.

The deal that was eventually struck in November included a pay structure that puts the salaries for top players at $30,700 per year and those at the next level at $22,400. The contract calls for a 10 percent raise each year and improved bonuses and other benefits.

“Our elite female players deserve a full-time professional career path in football and this agreement represents a solid foundation we can build on,” players’ association chief executive Adam Vivian said at the time.

Striker Kyah Simon said the move made the team stronger.

“The Matildas’ story is standing up for what we believe in and standing up for our brand and our culture. I think at the end of the day it brought the team closer together,” Simon said. “It’s something we can look on with pride, and something that’s hopefully a positive future for our sport and for the new generation of players.”

The victory came well before a group of U.S. women’s national team players filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging wage discrimination. The women claim they make far less on average than their male national team counterparts. The complaint in late March came as the players seek a new collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer.

Heading into the Olympics, the Matildas are ranked No. 5 in the world.

They leapfrogged Japan and Korea in the AFC qualification tournament to earn the trip to Rio along with China – scoring 17 goals in five matches.

Australia is in a tough group in Brazil that includes No. 2 Germany, No. 10 Canada and Zimbabwe. It is the only group with three teams ranked in the top 10. The top-ranked Americans play in a group that includes No. 3 France, New Zealand and Colombia.

Australia opens the tournament on Wednesday against Canada in Sao Paulo.

“After the World Cup everything sort of started to change. When we came home there was so much media attention and so many people that were interested in what we were doing and really proud of the success we had,” Catley said of the team’s rising profile. “I think people always knew there was a national team, but I don’t think they realized how high in the rankings we were and how much better we were getting as a team.”

Conte: “I don’t know” if Diego Costa will be a Chelsea player this season

VELDEN, AUSTRIA - JULY 20: Diego Costa of Chelsea looks on during the friendly match between WAC RZ Pellets and Chelsea F.C. at Worthersee Stadion on July 20, 2016 in Velden, Austria. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
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Antonio Conte sent “silly season” into overdrive (all over again) when he admitted on Saturday that he himself doesn’t know whether or not Diego Costa will remain a Chelsea player this season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking after his side’s 3-2 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup, Chelsea’s first-year manager confirmed the reason for Costa’s continued absence this preseason — an injury — but went on to say the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard’s club future remains up in the air just 14 days before the 2016-17 Premier League season kicks off — quotes from the Sun:

“I can say that today Costa is a Chelsea player. He didn’t play in these games because of injury and if he solves the injury and I see in training he’s in good shape it can be possible to see him in the next game against Milan. But I can tell only this.

“I speak for today and today Costa is Chelsea’s player. Tomorrow if you ask me if Costa will remain with us, I don’t know.”

Costa, who signed for Chelsea from Atletico Madrid two summers ago, has regularly been linked with a return to the Spanish capital. However, Atleti announced on Saturday the signing of Sevilla striker Kevin Gameiro, who scored 68 goals in three seasons (all competitions) with the three-time defending Europa League winners, reportedly for nearly $40 million.

[ MORE: Zlatan scored a ridiculous scissor-kick goal on his debut ]

Atleti would hardly be the only suitors for a goal-getter who has netted 32 times in two seasons in the Premier League, including 20 times in 26 games during his 2014-15 debut campaign.