STOCKHOLM, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Zlatan Ibrahimovic ripped off his shirt and sprinted along the touchline to celebrate a remarkable late goal after inspiring Sweden to a 4-2 victory over England in a friendly on Wednesday.
“Even if it was a friendly I had to show my happiness and give it back to the crowd,” the four-goal striker told reporters after his outrageous bicycle kick from 25 metres in stoppage time put the seal on Sweden’s win.
“What went through me then it’s hard to describe. I enjoyed it very much.”
England goalkeeper Joe Hart came out of his area to clear a long pass but only succeeded in heading the ball up in the air and Ibrahimovic launched into an acrobatic overhead kick to send it sailing into an unguarded net.
Asked if it was his best international strike, the Sweden captain replied: ”No - but it’s the one I’ve enjoyed most.
”Hart was a long way out and I was just trying to get it into the goal. I was on the ground when it was on the way in.
“I saw a defender sliding in to try to get rid of it and I wanted to scream ‘No’ but the ball went in.”
The Paris St Germain marksman is up to third in Sweden’s all-time scoring chart after taking his tally to 39 goals in 85 internationals.
Having often struggled against their teams in European competition, Ibrahimovic has never enjoyed the best of relationships with the English fans and media but he certainly made new friends at the new Friends Arena in Stockholm.
”That’s the way it is with the English,“ he said. ”If you score against them you’re a good player, if you don’t score against them you’re not a good player.
”I remember Lionel Messi before the 2009 Champions League final for Barcelona ... then he scored against Manchester United and suddenly he was the best player in the world.
“Maybe now they’ll say something like that about me,” added the 31-year-old.
Former Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan and Inter Milan player Ibrahimovic struck in the 20th, 77th, 84th minutes and in stoppage time while Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker were on target for a new-look England team who gave debuts to six players.
The Swede is now looking forward to scoring many more goals at the Friends Arena.
“It feels like a coliseum, this arena is going to give us a lot of points in the future,” he said. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)