Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic last night scored the “greatest goal ever” to round off a crushing victory over England in the first match at his national stadium.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remarkable overhead kick came when he was 30 yards from goal. He sprang six feet into the air to arch the ball over the helpless goalkeeper and into the net.
The world’s biggest football names are already queuing up to praise the goal, with even England’s gobsmacked stars hailing his achievement as “extraordinary” and “world class”.
England captain Steven Gerrard, playing his 100th match for his country, said: “It is the best goal I have seen live.
“The best goal I’d seen before that was Wayne Rooney’s against Manchester City.
“Everyone knows how special that was, but this one – an overhead kick from 30 yards when the ball is six feet in the air – only certain players can do that. And he is a special player.
“This was a world-class performance from a world-class player.”
Zlatan Ibrahamivic’s goal was his fourth of the match, taking the score to 4-2 to round off the first game at Friends Arena in Stockholm.
The propeller kick came after goalkeeper Joe Hart had come out of his area to head the ball clear.
Silence fell as those inside the arena held their breath and watched the flight of the ball. Then the noise exploded as it landed in the net.
Even England supporters stood to applaud the audacity of Sweden’s captain, thrilled to witness such a brilliant flash of sporting beauty.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic ripped off his shirt, tossed it towards the crowd and shrugged as he was shown a yellow card.
Asked to rate his international career out of 10, Zlatan Ibrahimovic replied: “Ten. When I saw the goalkeeper was out of his net, I tried to put it over him. It was a good try, and when it comes off it’s fantastic.”
Former England manager Graham Taylor said: “That’s the greatest goal I’ve ever seen.”
England manager Roy Hodgson, who suffered his first defeat over 90 minutes, said: “Ibrahimovic’s fourth goal was extraordinary and it put the tin lid on the game. It was a fantastic goal.
“But it was the second and third goals which killed us.
“For 60-70 minutes we played very well and deserved to be leading. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic.”
Sweden substitute Tobias Sana said: “It was Zlatan against children. He has been criticized in England and this proves them all wrong.”
The Sweden player became the first footballer to hit four in a match against England.
No-one had even scored a hat-trick against England since Marco van Basten in 1988.
The two England goals came after Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in the 20th minute, with Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker taking the national side to a half-time lead.
The excitement was abruptly cut off in the last 14 minutes, however, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored three more and went down in history.