By Chris Wright
Having been bestowed with Sweden’s “Guldbollen” (i.e, Player of the Year) award for the eighth consecutive year and the ninth time overall, Zlatan Ibrahimovic momentarily misted up while delivering his acceptance speech – mentioning, as he did, two late Swedish footballers, Klas Ingesson and Pontus Segerstrom, who both passed away last month, as well as his own brother, Sakpo, who died of cancer back in April aged just 40.
See Ibra’s emotional speech (translation below)…
“What do you say after nine golden balls? .I don’t think there’s much to say, the Golden Balls speak for themselves and I am still living my boyhood dream when it comes to football.
“All these golden balls I get, it’s a proof that you have done something good and that you’re good at what you do.
“But it is overshadowed by what happened Klas and Pontus. I myself had a brother who passed away a few months ago in a similar illness.
“So there is a life on the side that is much more important than this.
“Let them rest in peace and a big thank you to everyone who helped me on the field and off the field.
“Without you, this was not possible.
Having briefly played for Sheffield Wednesday in the mid-1990s during his playing days, Klas Ingesson was most recently employed as the manager of IF Elfsborg – though is best remembered in Sweden as being part of the famous national side that finished third at the 1994 World Cup.
He died last month, aged 46, following a five-year battle against bone marrow cancer.
Pontus Segerstrom was the captain of the Swedish side Brommapojkarna, who succumbed to a brain tumour in October at the age of 33.