How Record Breaking Zlatan Ibrahimovic Has Fared in the Champions League With Each of His 7 Clubs
Zlatan Ibrahimovic set a Champions League record when he came off the bench for Manchester United in the closing stages of this week’s clash with Basel.
Having played in, and won, the Europa League last season, it was Ibrahimovic’s Champions League debut for United, his 7th different club in the competition overall.
No one else has turned out for quite so many different top sides in Europe’s elite competition.
Here’s a look at how the superstar Swede has fared at each of them…
Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2002/03)
Ibrahimovic’s first Champions League season saw him score five times in 13 games as Ajax successfully navigated two group stages to get the last eight of the competition.
Unfortunately for Ibrahimovic, the following season ended with a group stage exit.
Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2004/05, 2005/06)
Both seasons Ibrahimovic spent with Juventus in the Champions League ended at the quarter final stage, with elimination coming at the hands of eventual winners Liverpool in 2004/05 and eventual runners-up Arsenal in 2005/06.
On a personal level, the Swede also struggled for goals, failing to score at all in 2004/05.
Champions League Best: Last 16 (2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09)
Despite Inter’s dominance at a domestic level, Zlatan would go no further that the Last 16 stage in the Champions League during his time with the Nerazzurri.
Rather cruelly, Inter went on to lift the iconic trophy for the first time in 45 years the season that he left the club for Barcelona, trading places with Samuel Eto’o.
Champions League Best: Semi Finals (2009/10)
Ibrahimovic joined a Barcelona side in the summer of 2009 that had just won the Champions League as part of a treble, while he left a Barça team in the summer of 2010 that would then go on to win it again come the end of the season.
In the Swede’s sole season at Camp Nou, his Champions League dream was ended by his former Inter teammates at the semi-final stage.
5. AC Milan
Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2011/12)
By the time he reached AC Milan, Zlatan had started to move away from the rash and inconsistent talent he had previously been known to be, and was a more mature and polished goalscorer.
But despite goals galore in Italy, it didn’t help him go any further in Europe. Competition newcomers Tottenham knocked the Rossoneri out at the Last 16 in 2010/11.
6. Paris Saint-Germain
Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16)
Ibrahimovic has played more Champions League games for Paris Saint-Germain, scoring many more goal, than for any other club in his long career after spending four years in France.
Each time, his journey came to an end in the quarter finals. Former club Barcelona were responsible knocking his PSG side out on two of those four occasions.
7. Manchester United
Champions League Best:unknown (2017/18)
Only time will tell what the 2017/18 Champions League campaign has in store for Ibrahimovic and Manchester United.
A long-term knee injury meant he was forced to miss the first four games of the group stage. But his return, particularly with a view to the knockout rounds in the new year, will be a huge boost for the United squad as an extra attacking option.