For most people, earning the penultimate position on a 150-person list consisting of the all-time top athletes from your country would be a great honor. For Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, though, coming in second was a great disappointment. After losing the No. 1 spot to five-time Wimbledon winner Bjorn Borg, the Paris Saint-Germain striker spouted off in an interview with Dagens Nyhether, the Swedish newspaper that came up with the list. Here’s a snippet:
Dagens Nyhether: Congratulations, you have finished second on the list of Swedish sports people of all time, how do you feel about that?
Ibrahimovic: Thank you, but to finish second is like finishing last.
DN: You have previously mentioned Muhammad Ali, Petter Northug and Ronaldo as sports people you rank highly. Who would have finished on the podium if you had ranked the best Swedish sports people of all time?
Ibrahimovic: On that list I would have been Nos, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with due respect to the others.
Borg, whom Ibrahimovic does call a “legend” in the same interview, won Wimbledon one, two, three, four, five times in a row between 1976 and 1980. Borg routinely makes international lists of greatest tennis players ever.
Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, while looked at as one of contemporary soccer’s stand-outs, does not often make greatest of all-time lists when those rankings take the whole world into consideration. That said, Ibrahimovic is no slouch on the pitch. While he’s never won the World Cup with Sweden (in fact, the team under Ibrahimovic failed to qualify for 2014’s edition), he’s been a member of several championship European clubs, including Barcelona’s legendary 2009 squad.
Ibrahimovic has never been short on bravado, so his bad attitude about being runner-up doesn’t come as a surprise. But at 33, it might be time to grow up.
(H/t: The Guardian).