'Zlatan With a Fan': Social Media Reacts to Ibrahimovic’s Meeting With the Pope
23:36 GMT 14.12.2021 (Updated: 18:44 GMT 19.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Nick Potts/PAManchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the English League Cup Quarter Final soccer match between Bristol City and Manchester United at Ashton Gate, Bristol, England. (File)
© AP Photo / Nick Potts/PA
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the world’s most famous athletes, boasting 51.7 million followers on Instagram and 7.8 million followers on Twitter. A recent picture with Jorge Mario Bergoglio, aka Pope Francis, has sent social media into a frenzy.
Ibrahimovic’s social media following is gaudy, but with approximately 1.3 billion Catholics, the Pope has him beat when it comes to followers. However, it appears that Pope Francis was just as starstruck by one of the world’s greatest self-promoters.
Ibrahimovic traveled to the Vatican to personally exchange gifts with the Pope. He gave him a signed jersey and a copy of his autobiography Adrenalina. Pope Francis wasn’t to be outdone and gave Ibrahimovic a copy of his book Sport according to Pope Francis.
While Ibrahimovic’s exploits on the pitch made him a superstar, his ability to generate quotes is second to none. In fact, Ibrahimovic sees himself as having no equal. Over the past decade, the Swedish striker has continuously referred to himself as ‘god’.
In 2013, Ibrahimovic had an otherworldly exchange with a reporter.
TV4 reporter—"Who'll win the qualifier?" Ibrahimović—"Only God knows" Reporter—"It's kinda hard to ask him" Ibra—"You're talking to him now"— Nik Postinger (@nikpostinger) November 15, 2013
While he refrained from calling himself a god, he couldn’t resist the temptation for long.
In 2018, while playing with the Los Angeles Galaxy, he welcomed LeBron James to the city of Angels as only he could.
Naturally, when Ibrahimovic met the Pope, or, according to Ibrahimovic, when the Pope met God, social media went into overdrive.
There's been a Pope, and sometimes two or three, for over a thousand years, but there is only one Zlatan.
Now that Pope Francis has Zlatan's blessings there's no telling what he can do.
Apparently, the only person the Pope can confess to is a Zlatan.
Perhaps Ibrahimovic will take a stab at the clergy after his playing career.