Zlatan Ibrahimović pays glowing tribute to retired Olof Mellberg | inside World Soccer

Zlatan Ibrahimović pays glowing tribute to retired Olof Mellberg

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sweden and Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has paid a touching tribute to his former international teammate Olof Mellberg, who retired from professional football on Thursday.

The centre-half has decided to hang up his boots at the grand old age of 36 following the expiration of his contract with Danish outfit FC Copenhagen.

For over a decade, Mellberg was the cornerstone of the Sweden defence and his talents, although not always noticed by pundits, were always valued by teammates.

And fellow Swede Ibrahimović has decided to pay a glowing tribute to the rock-solid defender wishing the former Aston Villa stopper all the best in this new chapter of his life.

Posted in his Facebook page, the message read:

The day Olof Mellberg decided to quit the national team it was a great loss to Swedish football and the team. But to me personally it was an even greater loss. When I had him on the team I never had to look back because I knew he was behind me and I could concentrate on what was going on up ahead.

Olof was the person that trigged and challenged me. This drove me to want to do more on the pitch.

Olof had a winner mentality like no other. He simply refused to lose, not only in football but in practically everything. And when he did lose, which rarely happened, he refused to admit it. I think this mentality was what took him a long way in his carreer.

I've been doubly lucky when it comes to Olof. Firstly because I got to play with him, and secondly because I got know the person Olof Mellberg, not only the player.

If Olof in my opinion is the best Swedish defender of all times, I think the person Olof is even better.

It is sad that Olof now chooses to end his career because I'm sure he has much more to give.

I wish Olof Mellberg and his family all happiness and love in the future.

Thank you my friend.

Zlatan Ibrahimović

Mellberg won league titles with AIK Stockholm and Olympiacos and also played for Racing Santander, Juventus, and Villarreal during an 18-year career.

He also won 117 caps for his country and represented them in two World Cups and four European Championships.

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