Zlatan eyes greatness at Barcelona
Is it because he's one of the most prolific strikers in the world, with 29 goals in 46 games last season, and can do jaw-dropping things like
But more than anything else, the Swede probably logged more frequent-flier miles this past summer than the Space Shuttle.
In July, he traveled with Inter Milan across the U.S. as part of the four-team World Football Challenge exhibition tournament. Then, midway through, it was announced that his long-awaited transfer to FC Barcelona -- involving three players and nearly $100 million -- had come through. And with it, of course, another summer tour of the U.S. with his new club.
Bleary-eyed, he recently recalled his summer itinerary as something like this: "I went L.A.-Boston. Then Boston-Copenhagen ... no, Boston-Germany. I don't know if it was Munich or Stuttgart. Then I was home [in Sweden] two days and then I went to Barcelona and did the presentation, signed the deal, everything, then went to Los Angeles again."
Hopefully Ibra got his rest, because the Spanish season kicks off Sunday and the pressure is on the 27-year-old to make Barcelona -- the team that swept the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey trophies last season -- somehow better. He'll have no excuses: As the replacement for
Zlatan is still recovering from surgery for a broken hand he suffered in Inter's match against Chelsea at the Rose Bowl last month, but he should be ready to go. SI.com recently caught up with the Swede and discussed the challenges ahead and where he fits in the pantheon of the world's best.