The Standout Inbetweener; Zlatan Ibrahimović | A Legend That Transcends Era’s

Zlatan(Auditions)Zlatan(G)

#TheHistorian

In an age where every generation seems to be blessed with its fair share of diversely gifted attacking talents, cut from a different cloth, and playing football with a grace that seems to constantly defy so many other lesser talented players; the most painful thing about hearing someone mention their top 5 best strikers of the last decade, is having to cringe at the constant omission of one name, Zlatan Ibrahimović. Zlatan is a true rebel in an age of conformists, a natural born striker capable of conjuring sheer magic with a football, or a piece of bubblegum.

The Zlatan can be said to have been largely unfortunate to have been doing such wonders at the end of the Raúl, Ronaldo, Alessandro Del Piero , Andriy Shevchenko, Samuel Eto’o, Michael Owen and Thierry Henry years; while his career also spanned into the dawn of another golden age, where the outrageous talents of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin van Persie, Sergio Agüero, David Villa, Robert Lewandowski and Luis Suárez have rightfully been the centre of all football related conversations in terms of premier level goalscorers and forwards. Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 62 goals, Zlatan deserves special mention for remaining true to his unique skill-set, and ensuring that his arrogance rather fuelled his drive, instead of it hampering the realisation of his unlimited potential; a league champion, and lethal marksman, in every country he has played in, all while having rejected the chance to trial for Arsenal with the lure of developing under the wing of legendary youth development expert Arsene Wenger as a teenager, rebuffing the offer with a simple statement, “No way, Zlatan doesn’t do auditions’, prior to signing for another club steeped in a culture of nurturing young talent, AFC Ajax.

Zlatan Ibrahimović is a man in a class all by himself, one I would never dare to compare to any player in any era, for obvious reasons; not enough will ever be written about one of the greatest strikers ever to play the game of football, which is saying quite a bit, when we consider all that has been writ about him since his teenage years. The legacy of the man can never be truly quantified in words, because “gratefully-enigmatic” and “gracefully-eclectic” do not begin to describe him in his entirety, his impressive career numbers, in various elite level leagues, would quickly be surpassed in the near future, when we look at the career trajectory of the Messi’s, Cristiano’s and Neymar’s of this world; yet a goal getter that became the first man to score for six different clubs in Europe’s most elite competition, the UEFA Champions League, while also having been on a streak of nine straight league title wins in three different countries, with four different clubs of high esteem, has to go down as a genuine legend of the game in both the era’s he thrived in.

The brilliance of Zlatan Ibrahimović, is that he managed to work himself into the history books of football in a time when world-class forwards were playing the beautiful game the way it ought to be played, beautifully; his ability to shine amongst such fierce competition is highly laudable, considering how he could easily have been the premier striker in a different age. Since his arrival at Ajax Amsterdam in 2001, as a promising young player, from Malmö FF in his country of birth, Sweden, Ibracadabra has woven his magic in the elite leagues of Europe terrorising defenders and ‘keepers alike, all while displaying his skills against some of the most lethal goal scorers to ever play the game of football; the cream truly rises to the top, and Zlatan has remained at the top of his game throughout his career. The fact that he netted the bulk of his goals, 148 in all competitions for Juventus, A.C. & Inter Milan, in one of the toughest defensive leagues ever, the Italian Serie A, is a living testament to the deadliness of the man; any striker that can net over 100 goals in Italy deserves to be recognised as a truly great finisher, and a pretty good forward to boot.

Zlatan has mastered his craft, a player who actually got to fully develop his game and truly fall in love with his skills, in the midst of the media frenzy that has surrounded him since his formative years, something we’ve seen countless talented lads continually fail to do; The Zlatan will surely retire from playing professional football sooner rather than later, now that he is at the end of his peak as an elite level striker, and entering the twilight years of his glorious career, although 3 Golden Boot awards in his 4 Ligue 1 seasons shows that he is still an asset upfront for any team. The true legacy of Zlatan Ibrahimović should not be understated, nor should the demeanour of the man be misunderstood or used against him when speaking on his greatness, or his illustrious career.

The arrogance comes from an understanding of one’s true abilities, and a burning desire to make the utmost of those gifts; the outrageous God given abilities aside, the swagger of a Michael Jordan on the court, the nerves of a Roger Federer in a tournament final, the desire to constantly achieve greatness of a Tony Hawk regardless of the conditions & the confidence in self of a Muhammad Ali regardless of the circumstances or the opposition, all point to a man with the makeup of a true champion, and an all round legend of the sport we all love. There may never be another player as talented, confident and enigmatic as The Zlatan has been, and I am honestly happy with those odds; Bob’s your Grandmothers last born son, the world has been blessed enough to have had one Zlatan Ibrahimović, the foremost football inbetweener, living proof that a well balanced mixture of confidence & arrogance can always fuel undoubted ability, when channelled right.

Ball Don’t Lie (The Numbers)

Club Spell/s Appearances Goals Assists Goal Ratio
Malmö FF September 1999 – July 2001 40 16 N/A 0.4
AFC Ajax July 2001 – August 2004 108 47 15 0.4
Juventus F.C. August 2004 – August 2006 92 26 6 0.3
Inter Milan August 2006 – July 2009 117 66 30 0.6
FC Barcelona July 2009 – June 2011 47 22 14 0.5
A.C. Milan August 2010 – May 2011 (Loan) & June 2011 – July 2012 85 56 24 0.7
Paris Saint-Germain F.C. July 2012 – July 2016 180 156 61 0.9
Totals   669 389 150 0.6
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GSV Wunderkind Watching; The Keen Kingsley Coman

KingsleyComan(Bayern)
An FC Hollywood Starlet On The Rise | Kingsley Coman #29
KingsleyComa(Juve)
Donning The Colours of the Bianconeri | Kingsley Coman #11

Wunderkind

: a child prodigy; also :  one who succeeds in a competitive or highly difficult field or profession at an early age

: someone who achieves success or shows great talent at a young age

The transition from playground hero to global superstar is one that only a lucky few get to undergo & complete; child prodigies can be found in every crevice of the globe, yet one does not always get to witness a child prodigy excel at a competitive level and show signs of great promise at a tender age, as gaffers are often under pressure to get immediate results and predictably punt for more seasoned pro’s as they seek to attain some much needed job security. Football remains one of the greatest tests of talent in the modern age, a field where hard work beats talent, when talent refuses to work hard and having talent alone is not enough to truly flourish in the craft. With measured development and sound off-field guidance, a wunderkind can develop into a world-class footballer with the gifts and aptitude to excel at the highest level; wunderkinder do not always become the true stars that their potential levels would have suggested they’d develop into, yet that will not hinder us from watching the best u/20 lads in the game and giving you an informative, enlightening and educational scouting report as our Talent Scout packs his binoculars and goes Wunderkind Watching.

#TheTalentScout

Kingsley Coman

Bio

DoB: June 13th, 1996 (19)

PoB: Paris, France

Nationalities: French, Guadeloupean

Caps & Goals: 2 Senior Caps {(u/16, 9 Caps), (u/17, 8 Caps & 3 Goals), (u/18, 6 Caps & 1 Goal), (u/19, 7 Caps & 2 Goals), (u/21, 9 Caps & 2 Goals)

Position/s: Winger, Inside Forward, Advanced Playmaker, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Forward, Trequartista (Left, Right, Centre)

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: FC Bayern Munich (On 2 season-long loan from Juventus)

Club Jersey No: #29

Development Academies: US Sénart-Moissy, Paris Saint-Germain

Former Clubs: Paris Saint-Germain B, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus

Career Club Appearances & Goals: 46 Games, 6 Goals & 9 Assists

Talent Scout Report

Mental: One of the biggest critiques regarding many talented protégés today, is their seemingly diminished desire to truly fulfil their potential and earn the right to be talk about amongst the genuine legends of the craft that is football; Kingsley Coman is one player that would seem to defy that growing trend of young players that become complacent before they even complete their development, a young footballer that leaves two title winning sides with the view of improving himself as a footballer is one that deserves to be credited for his determination to truly succeed at the highest level. Coman could easily havechosen to bide his time at PSG or Juve, picking up medals and waiting for an opportunity to regularly display his talents, yet the lad knew that he could make a tangible contribution to the success of a great football club while still continuing his own personal development; that determination translates onto his on-field game as he runs his socks off on both ends of the pitch and offers an intangible quality that many young footballers today should aspire to possess.

His anticipation of spaces on the pitch seems to improve with increased game-time, and his high work-rate makes him an asset in the counter-pressing game as he knows how to use his physical gifts to the benefit of his team; the opportunity to have played in title winning teams and trained alongside world – class players seems to have improved his overall reading of match situations and his exposure to such environments has improved his big match temperament drastically in a matter of years.

For such a technically gifted player, the next critique could sound preposterous; yet Kingsley can sometimes lack the creativity to dig deep into his bag of tricks and unlock compact defences with more definitive moments of magic, his end product is often hampered by a perceived lack of ability to be composed and play the obvious killer pass or execute a direct run that leads to a converted attacking opportunity.

Physical: Blessed with bags of pace and the athleticism of a premier athlete, Kingsley could develop into an offensive marvel once his overall game is completely balanced and developed; it’s one thing for a footballer to have good pace, yet the Thierry Henry’s of this world have proven to us that great pace becomes deadly when its fused with outstanding balance and almost catlike agility. Coman is a physically outstanding specimen with even more room to develop and grow to the level where he can use his physical gifts as an addition to his already heavily fitted offensive arsenal; that combination of pace and power makes him a threat when he has the ball at his feet, yet the lad can also use his physicality to hold the ball up and prove hard for opposition defenders to disposes.

Technical: Of all his technical gifts, Kinglsey’s first touch allows all his other abilities to come to the fore far more naturally, the ability to control a football is largely overlooked these days and many young players are rushed to learn how to work the ball before mastering the art of controlling it and keeping it under a spell for long enough to weave some magic. If top European sides have learned anything from the success they have enjoyed at the elite level, it’s that there remains little defence for attacking players that can take on defenders and eliminate opponents to create room to attack in against more compact defences that look to play on the break; Coman’s direct running ability and dribbling technique easily mark him out as an offensive superstar in the making, the lad has the ability to keep fans on their feet with mazy runs that often leave defenders tied up in knots.

Although we have discussed his need for an improved end product, the natural gifts are there to be nurtured with time; a powerful long rang shooter with some venom in both pegs, Coman could bag his fair share of goals & assists with more attention to his final delivery or final action at the end of yet another good offensive run. While he seemed to be a handy finisher an youth level, Kingsley has only begun to show glimpses of what he can contribute to a team in the final third of the pitch; his own rawness may be to attribute for those shortcomings, yet the lad could develop into a great offensive weapon that can play anywhere in attack and still add immense quality.

GSV Potential Meter: 5/5 Tsamaya’s

The Dream Team United; Our u/23 All-Star Select (Week 1)

afcon-2015
African Cup of Nations 2015

As we celebrate the end of the first week of football at Africa’s grandest football stage, we at GSV have took it upon ourselves to assemble our all-star team of u/23 lads that have amazed and astounded us thus far in the 30th edition of the African Cup of Nations. These lads have put their hands up and shown that there will be abundant talent on show in the coming editions of the Afcon, talent that could grow into a crop of players that fly the African flag high across the football fraternity. With no further delays, we give you the u/23 version of The Dream Team United; in an unorthodox 3-6-1 for an unrivalled sense of balance.

GK – Felipe Ovono [July 26th, 1993] (21) {Deportivo Mongomo} Equatorial Guinea

The National Thunder have surprised all and sundry in this Afcon with their enterprising attacking play, yet their two draws have come with the help of a young man who seems to have a set of golden gloves on his hands; in a young squad packed with international born and based talents, Ovono has showed that he has the ability to hold his own and establish himself as a talent that will be Equatorial Guinea’s number one stopper for the next decade. Ovono has only conceded the single goal in his countries two encounters so far, for a lad many expected to pick a few balls out of his net in this competition, he has done very well for himself thus far.

RCB – Daniel Amartey [December 21st, 1994] (20) {F.C. Copenhagen} Ghana

Ghana have been a nation on the rise again in the African football fraternity, their talented side has been strengthened by top quality players coming into the national team fold and establishing themselves as fixtures from a relatively young age. The Black Stars have been fortunate enough to keep supplementing their peaking stars with talented young lads year after year for a while now, this Afcon 2015 tournament saw them add a few more young stars to their growing galaxy; one such player is a young man that made his competitive debut in the opening encounter loss against Senegal and displayed a defensive level of maturity beyond his years. Daniel Amartey is the type of central defender Mama Africa has been producing for years; strong in the tackle, quick across the ground, good in the air and not too shabby with the ball at his feet. Amartey could be the type of central defender that Ghana can build their defence upon for years to come.

CB – Eric Bertrand Bailly [April 12th, 1994] (20) {RCD Espanyol} Ivory Coast

When one talks about the current generation of Ivory Coast’s side, they don’t always tend to rave about its defensive solidity and their ability to keep out more than the score on a less than offensively penetrative game; yet all that looks on the brink of changing now that the guard is being handed over to the next crop of talented lads on the rise. Eric Bertrand Bailly is a modern age central defender, good on the ball and defensively more aware than the average 20 year old centre back can attest to being; Bailly has all the tools to become the cornerstone of The Elephants’ defence as they rebuild an aging side in the coming months. There are bags of potential in the lad and one can only hope that it continues to be harnessed well as he develops into one of Mama Africa’s premier central defenders.

LCB – Rivaldo Coetzee [October 16th, 1996] (18) {Ajax Cape Town} South Africa

When Rivaldo Coetzee first broke into the Bafana Bafana squad at the start of their Afcon Qualifying campaign, even the most optimistic advocates of youth development at senior national team level could not have predicted just how well the lad would fare in his role as the cover defender in a side that enjoyed playing the brand of attacking football that encourages the fullbacks to get forward and occasionally leave the defenders to deal with even more pressure than they would be content to deal with. Rivaldo has become such a vital part of how South Africa defend that the 20 odd minutes he spent on the field for them in this tournament so far, were the most solid and composed the side has looked in their entire campaign. The young lad has shown that he has the abilities to grow into one of the finest central defenders Mzansi has produced in their history; confident in the tackle, bags of pace to burn and a physical stature that allows him to compete against the more brutish forwards, Valdo adds a dynamic passing range to an already impressive and well rounded game to make for one exciting star of the future.

RWB – Serge Aurier [December 24th, 1992] (22) {Paris Saint-Germain} Ivory Coast

If you talk about Africa’s premier right fullback and the name Serge Aurier does not come up, you aren’t conversing with an enlightened football mind, the young Ivorian has grown into an all action fullback with the positional sense of an experienced lad, a trait he combines well with his on the ball ability to make for one great prospect in the coming years. Serge has made that Ivory Coast right flank his own with his great engine allowing him to get up and down the channel, contributing on both ends and showing the quality to make things happen for his nation. He may be yet to play his best game in this edition of the Afcon 2015 tournament, yet the lad has already proven that there are few in the African football fraternity that can match him for ability; and the truth is that even fewer lads can match him for potential either.

LWB – Baba Rahman [July 2nd, 1994] (20) {FC Augsburg} Ghana

When one looks at the premier left fullbacks of the modern game, they all have the unique skill set that allows them to dominate defensively while adding a great deal of dynamic play to the attack of their sides. Baba Rahman is one of the most defensively astute young left fullbacks in the entire football fraternity, a great one-on-one defender with the tenacity to get stuck in and leave an attacking player feeling like he has been ineffectual after spending time trying to get the better of the young lad. Having also made his senior national team bow on Africa’s grandest stage and showing the glimpses of ability that have many raving about his abilities, Baba is a lad with a very bright future in the game. One of Ghana’s brightest stars so far on the defensive end in his tournament and a young man that seems to grow in confidence with each game he plays in the jersey of The Black Stars, Rahman will continue to grow in leaps and bounds.

B2B – Chancel Mbemba Mangulu [August 8th, 1994] (20) {RSC Anderlecht} DR Congo

One cannot help but admire the progress Chancel Mbemba Mangulu has made in his career to date, an astute reader of the game with the engine to cover a lot of ground without tiring as he continues to get about the field winning tackles and breaking up offensive moves for his side. The DR Congo are blessed to have an elite level industrious midfield player with the ability to protect their defensive line while aiding in the retention of the ball with a great degree of competency, Chancel is a player whose star continues to rise with each game and its only a matter of time before he develops into a premier midfielder with the aptitude to become a general for any side whose midfield he marshals.

DLP – Nabil Bentaleb [November 24th, 1994] (20) {Tottenham Hotspur FC} Algeria

Nabil Bentaleb is probably one of the finest midfielders of his generation, strong and aggressive while also very technically well versed; Nabil has all the hallmarks of a top level midfield general with the passing vision of an artist of the highest quality. The hard working nature of his game on and off the field means that he continues to grow in leaps and bounds with every game and training session and he adds a true touch of class to playing midfield in the modern age. Blessed with a body that most would spend years in the gym for, Bentaleb keeps adding a new dimension to his game as he aspires to become an elite level superstar in the coming seasons. Algeria’s pressing game revolves around his ability to play at a high level with ease while pressuring their opponents into making mistakes and using his passing range to pick out his teammates as they break forward.

AM – Naby Keïta [February 10th, 1995] (19) {Red Bull Salzburg} Guinea

If one thought of the young attacking players that flew into Equatorial Guinea for this tournament, Naby Keïta was not one of the top names to come to mind; yet the lad has held his own against some top class opponents and he has shown his ability to get involved offensively while also getting stuck in and mixing it up defensively. His passing vision and direct running ability have been marvellous to watch at times, the teenager has shown that ability has little to do with age and he will continue to get better as he grasps the nuances of playing football at the international level. Naby has an ability to turn a game on its head in an instance, an ability we look for in an attacking midfield player; there is an abundant amount of potential in the lad and one gets the feeling he will fulfil that potential in the years to come.

AM – Iván Salvador Edú [December 11th, 1995] (19) {Valencia Mestalla} Equatorial Guinea

One of the standout young talents in this Afcon 2015 has been the skilful and visionary Iván Edú, the young lad has been a star in a young squad that has played with the type of passion you wouldn’t expect from lads that weren’t born in the tiny country. Iván has helped repay the faith the gaffer showed in a group of young lads that many didn’t give a second thought to before their opening game heroics. It has been fairytale stuff for the lad and his mates as they had been expected to be the whipping boys in Group A, Edú’s stock as risen considerably with every mazy run he has gone on and every well weighted pass he has made. It is well worth applauding how he has showed his class in a tournament packed with established stars and even inspired his side where more decorated campaigners have failed, this young lad will continue to develop into one of Africa’s finest unsung heroes as this tournament goes on.

CF – Mohamed Yattara [July 28th, 1993] (21) {Olympique Lyonnais} Guinea

Guinea may be the team to watch offensively in a group that produces draws at an alarming rate, their defensive acumen is inspiring to watch at times, yet it’s their ability to get forward and create chances in abundance that makes them a threat in this tournament. One of their brightest players going forward is the talented young man named Mohamed Yattara, he brings an all action game to his side and provides a great focal point for offensive attacks. It is no secret that he needs to develop more composure in front of goals, yet the lad has already shown the aptitude to develop into a leading forward for his nation in the years to come. Yattara adds great value to the pressing game with his ability to press from the front and give the opposition defenders little time on the ball to build from the back; it’s his application to playing his heart out for the side that marks him as a different calibre of forward.