Zlatan and France

Why Zlatan Ibrahimovic might think France is s**t

Why Zlatan Ibrahimovic might think France is s**t
Why is Zlatan Ibrahimovic so mad with France? Photo: AFP
After Zlatan Ibrahimovic unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade, in which he described France as a "shit country", The Local looks at what might have really been behind the big Swede's outburst. Some folk may be sympathetic.
The housing issue in Paris
The big Swede is likely to be still bitter about the housing situation in the French capital (let's face it, who hasn't been at one time or another?)
Don't forget that when he moved to Paris he had to put with living in a hotel (The Intercontinental Grand Hotel, to be exact) for a fairly long time. When he was asked about his living arrangements, he famously quipped that if he couldn't find anything then he'd "just buy the hotel".

(Photo: Istvan/Flickr)
As always, it's hard to tell when Zlatan is joking. His next line, however, made it seem like more of a joke… we think:
"If I can't buy the hotel I am going to live in the Eiffel Tower and go to training by parachute."
The striker's flat-hunting ordeal went on for months until Le Parisien newspaper reported that in December last year he finally found the apartment he had been looking for (or three of them to be precise, which he was going to bring together).
And of course, Paris being Paris, Zlatan was forced to pay through the nose for his rent – €30,000 a month to be precise and for that he only got 600 square metres (according to reports)
We will be the first to admit that Zlatan is a talented wordsmith. He regularly gives interviews in Swedish and English, and is rumoured to speak five languages in total (no doubt thanks to his Bosnian Croatian heritage and his extended stint playing in Italy and Spain).
But is the French language one tongue too far for the towering talisman? 
It was notable that his tirade against the referee on Sunday was delivered in English. Some sympathy for Zlatan here as we've all been there when we've been riled by a local and can't find the words in French, so just resort to shouting random insults in English. But it's not the way to go and we recommend Zlatan consult The Local's "Ten vital French put-downs to use in an argument".
Here is a clip of him speaking French as his teammates laugh. 

He doesn’t like “caviar-eating” Parisians:

Plenty of visitors to Paris, including French ones, have complained about the snobby attitude of Parisians over the years. Ibrahimovic has also had one or two harsh things to say about the locals.

After one particular match for PSG earlier this year, Ibrahimovic mouthed off about the local "caviar-munching" supporters. It followed a match that PSG won, but were whistled by sections of the notoriously hard to please home crowd.

“I don’t know what they want. We win, we lose and they whistle.

"Maybe they are used to eating caviar before they come to the match.”

It wasn’t the first time that he had taken the local crowd to task for whistling his team. After a match in 2013 he said: “They demand a lot. Which is strange when you look at what they had before, which was nothing.”

SEE ALSO: Ten of the best quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic

He’s into liberté, but not fraternité or egalité:

The big striker might have a few issues with some of France’s founding principles. While he clearly values liberté, given that he seems to do what he wants on the pitch, he looks as though he might have a certain issue with fraternité.

If you watch Zlatan lope around the pitch during any PSG game as his team mates do all the running and hard work to get the ball back it’s clear the principle of “brotherhood” or fraternité is not valued that highly.

Then there’s his view on egalité, which perhaps can be summed up in this quote he gave to a journalist when asked about the role of his wife in his career: “My wife stays at home to look after my kids. It’s the only thing I need her to do. She has nothing to do with my football.” Let’s just say he’s unlikely to be the guest speaker at Femen’s Christmas party this year.

He does not fit into France’s secular model

The conversation went a bit like this.

Journalist: “What will be the outcome of this clash?”

Zlatan: “Only God knows.”

Journalist: “It’s difficult to ask him.”

Zlatan: “You’re looking at him.”

France’s founding principal of “laïcite” which is a strict separation of all things God-related and the state has made it hard for the self-declared God Zlatan to exert his influence over French football and society at large. He might be more comfortable playing for the Vatican 11, and the football-loving Pope Francis would only be too happy to sign him up.

France's pesky Socialists

You can only have imagined Zlatan's reaction when Socialist president François Hollande got elected and promised to introduce a 75 percent tax on millionaires, footballers included. Although Zlatan ended up not having to pay the tax himself, the French socialists have never let him forget how obscene they think his wages are.

"These numbers are not impressive, they are indecent," said the then Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac when asked about Ibrahimovic's salary

"They are indecent at a time when everyone in the entire world is making efforts and knows the terrible consequences of a crisis," said Cahuzac, who was soon fired for tax dodging. 

French football too small for the big Swede

Ibrahimovic has made it pretty clear from the very beginning of his time at PSG that France’s Ligue 1 was simply too small fry for him although he was prepared to put up with it.

“I don’t know a lot about Ligue 1, but Ligue 1 knows exactly who I am,” was what he said when he first arrived in France after being bought by PSG's Qatari owners with their petrodollars.

Essentially this seems to be the reason for his foul-mouthed rant on Sunday. His frustration with the standard of the refereeing can be seen as a sign of his irritation with the French league in general, whose standing is well behind that of the English, Spanish, Italian and German leagues.

Missing his meatballs

(Photo: Alpha/Flickr)
Could it be that the French cuisine hasn't been enough to satisfy the Swede's tastebuds? Perhaps Sweden's famed meatballs are the secret recipe that's missing from the footballer's dinner plate. Throw into the mix that the closest Ikea (which some say sells the best Swedish meatballs) is miles out of the city… then it's no wonder he's losing his temper. 

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