Me and Zlatan
This is the story of me and Zlatan. Me and Zlatan have been intertwined for some time. I moved to Copenhagen twenty years ago, just across the water from Zlatan’s home city Malmø, joined by the Oresund Bridge. The bridge off the telly programme The Bridge.
He was famous in the Scandinavian media as soon as he appeared at Malmø. It was clear he was very special. Then onto Ajax where he proved himself before moving to three Italian clubs in a row always winning the title where ever he went. A short spell at Barcelona, where unbelievably a man of his talent wasn’t happy at being plan B. PSG followed, then Man Utd.
So how exactly do me and Zlatan connect? Zlatan lives in the UK demonstrating his art and talent to the world, while I live in Scandinavia… full stop. Okay there is a little bit more.
More than a decade back, me and some mates went out drinking in Malmø. (Malmø’s in Sweden, I live in Denmark!) a little bit away for a night out from Copenhagen, but possibly far enough away for the ones that were married. I wasn’t married. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
So anyway me and this young woman got chatting, as you do. She was a very cool, attractive Swedish woman, way out of my league, but clearly a little bit damaged, we got on like a house on fire.
We went out together for a few months more off than on, struggling through the issues of an international relationship divided by the Denmark, Sweden border. (A twenty minute train journey). I know, ever so sweet, who cares?
Well this young woman had been in Zlatan’s class at school in Malmø. This young woman had gone out with Zlatan.
She was way too cool to be bothered by, or concerned or interested in anyone famous, but she knew how to play me like a fiddle, so I’d get the odd Zlatan tit bit when she’d pissed me off (quite a lot). And I can exclusively reveal ‘he was an arrogant shit even back then’.
Yes I know. You’ve just worked out this whole article is the saddest brag ever. However me having gone out with Zlatan’s ex, will be written on my fucking grave stone, just under the words ‘He poured a pint for Johnny Hewitt once’.
And anyone concerned about the young lady. She got herself sorted out, met a nice Swedish bloke, got married and had a couple of beautiful Swedish kids, and lived happily ever after. I know this as I stalked her on Facebook for ages. And one day on her Facebook feed she was tagged in an old class photo. Guess who else was there…
Late update: This was written while Zlatan was at Man Utd. He was at Juventus when I went out with her. I once dropped into a conversation I reckoned he’d be on close to 100k per week. Every week. Just to test her Scandinavian, Swedish goth coolness. There was just a flicker of jealousy/regret/wonder behind her eyes. And then she didn’t care.
His book ‘I am Zlatan’ is a sensational read, and you really get a sense of him, and what drives him. It’s very difficult to not respect pure talent and hard work, and very often in the face of adversity. And his arrogance/showmanship is kinda funny.