Camp Nou gives Ibrahimovic a hero’s welcome
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been welcomed by a rapturous Camp Nou. The Swedish striker was stunned by such a grand introduction to the club, saying that the only moments of his life to compare with this were the births of his children.
No fewer than 60,000 people assembled in the Camp Nou on Monday evening to get their first glimpse
of the new Barça centre forward. The Swede was given an enthusiastic welcome by a generally young
crowd that enjoyed every second of the presentation.
Hours before the Camp Nou opened, there were
already several fans gathered on the forecourt outside the stadium, all waiting to attend the
presentation of the club’s latest acquisition, Ibrahimovic. In fact, the gates had to be
opened half an hour before the event commenced in order to avoid a crush as the crowds made their
way to the terraces.
The event actually got under way a little later than originally planned, but it was clearly
worth the wait when around nine o’clock, the striker finally made his way out onto the pitch
for the first time.
Nine on his back
After an intense day, with two medical revisions
and the signing of his contract, Zlatan appeared before the media donning the number nine shirt
that is to be his own. With the cameras flashing in the stands and the club anthem playing over the
tannoy, the former Inter man impressed onlookers with his juggling skills and returned the applause
from the crowd. He also kissed the crest on numerous occasions.
Words of thanks
The Swede then took the mike into his own hands and even said a few words in Catalan:
“Gràcies a tots. Visca el Barça!” That worked the crowd up into absolute frenzy, and
they immediately responded by chanting his name, with Ibrahimovic responding to such a warm
reception by running the whole lap of the pitch, with several fans taking the opportunity to invade
I’m the happiest man in the world
After he had left the field, the Swede spoke to Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat in the
player’s tunnel to express his thoughts: “There have been two unforgettable moments in
my life – the births of my children. Now, this is the third.” Visibly contented and
emotional, Ibrahimovic added: “I didn’t expect this. It’s a fantastic feeling. I
am the happiest man in the world”.
More than Ronaldinho or Henry
This was a traditional presentation, with no additional gimmicks, comparable to what happened when
Ronaldinho Gaúcho and Thierry Henry joined the club. However, there were 20,000 people in the Camp
Nou to welcome the Brazilian, and 30,000 for the Frenchman’s presentation. Ibra managed to
attract more than both those players put together – it has certainly been an impressive start
to his time in Catalonia.