Bayern Munich wonderkid Arijon Ibrahimovic has the world at his feet. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the teenaged midfielder...
Data correct as of 1 September 2023
Age: 17 (born 11 December 2005)
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Attacking midfield
Country: Germany (U18 six caps / two goals)
Born in Nuremberg to Kosovan parents in 2005, Ibrahimovic - who has no relation to Sweden star Zlatan - made his first steps in club football at Greuther Fürth. In 2014, aged nine, Ibrahimovic moved across town to join Nuremberg to continue his youth development. After only four years there, Bavaria's biggest club came knocking and he joined Bayern.
Since being a part of the youth set-up at Bayern's campus, Ibrahimovic has developed into one of the most highly regarded young talents at the club, quickly climbing through the age groups. The teen made his debut for Bayern's U17 team aged just 14, scoring twice and assisting three times in five appearances in 2020/21. And despite being only turning 16 in December 2021, he was promoted to the U19 team that same year. In 2022/23, Ibrahimovic continued to impress; scoring 13 times in 11 outings for the U19s and going on to make a further nine appearances for Bayern's reserves, registering three goal and four assists.
His name came into sharper focus when he trained with Julian Nagelsmann's first-team squad during pre-season ahead of the 2021/22 campaign. Ibrahimovic took to the pitch against the likes of Dayot Upamecano and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, and even scored during a training match.
As soon as he became eligible to be included in a Bundesliga matchday squad upon turning 16, Ibrahimovic was named among the substitutes in the 2-1 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 18 of 2021/22. He has been training with the first team at regular intervals since and was promoted to the first team upon signing a contract extension through to 2025. He made his Bundesliga debut for the Bavarian giants when coming on as a substitute for Leroy Sane in the Matchday 20 encounter against Bochum.
Plays a bit like: Leon Goretzka
A box-to-box midfielder who is just as happy to do the dirty work in defence as he is to race forward and support attack, Ibrahimovic has been likened to Bayern's industrious Germany international Leon Goretzka.
Ibrahimovic has displayed outstanding technical skills on the ball, as well as in-game intelligence in terms of pressing and positioning which have impressed his coaches at the home of the record Bundesliga champions.
Did you know?
The young Ibrahimovic is well aware of his namesake in Zlatan, and has described both the Swede and Cristiano Ronaldo as his idols. The 17-year-old showed his similar mentality to Zlatan in an Instagram post recently, with a quote akin to that once famously said by the former AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United striker: "Lions do not compare themselves to humans."
This post instead reads: "The tiger and the lion may be stronger. But the wolf doesn't perform in the circus."
What they're saying
"We're very happy to have extended Ari Ibrahimovic's contract. He's developed very well with us and will now be part of our first-team squad. We've nurtured him at the Bayern Campus, and he's one of the guys we expect a lot of." - former Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic
"We’ve got a very good impression of him. Ari’s a very good attacking player, whose quality lies in taking on defenders in one-on-one situations. He can dribble really well." - former Bayern boss Nagelsmann on Ibrahimovic
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