Zlatan Ibrahimovic fans and in fact most of the football world were heartbroken back in November when Sweden was defeated by Portugal in the World Cup qualifiers. The massive disappointment was perhaps alleviated by the fact that it means Cristiano Ronaldo will make an appearance. While that may have consoled fans, it didn't make the Swedish striker feel any better, famously declaring: "A World Cup without me is not worth watching."
As it turns out, more people agree with that statement than one would think. Ibrahimovic may be a part of the World Cup after all, thanks to a host of Brazil stars joining forces to invite the striker to their country during this summer's tournament.
Brazil international Dani Alves and a number of former national team stars including Ronaldo (the original), Denilson, Bebeto and Rai, have come together to create a viral video entitled VEMIBRA (Come, Ibra) begging Zlatan to join them this summer and jump on a plane to South America and catch the FIFA World Cup finals which will kick off next month.
Joining the former players in their "VEMIBRA" movement are Brazilian celebrities who all appear in the short video to get the Paris Saint-Germain star to the world's biggest football competition and it seems to have reached terminal velocity. People from all over the world now joining in and using the hashtag #vemibra in social media and tagging Ibrahimovic directly in his accounts!
With a long career spanning through some of the best clubs in the world such as Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan, the 32-year old striker is one of the most recognizable figures in football today. With a reputation for cool arrogance and eccentric behavior, Ibrahimovic is a classic case of 'love him or hate him' but this campaign clearly shows the love pouring out from colleagues, friends and fans alike.
Ibra must have seen the viral video and messages and took to Twitter to hint that the pleas may have worked in convincing him to travel to the World Cup as fan. On Tuesday evening, Ibrahimovic tweeted: 'Brazil! I think I'll have to change my vacation plans,' accompanied by a photo of himself sitting at the back of a speedboat apparently already well into his summer break.
The video opens up with a montage of some of Ibra's best goals for PSG this season and punctuated by Cristiano Ronaldo's fate-sealing strike for Portugal against Sweden which ended Zlatan's hopes of playing with his national team in the upcoming World Cup.
At the end of the montage, Zlatan's words are shown again: 'A World Cup without me is not worth watching.' The video then starts to show the various invitations recorded by players, celebrities and ordinary people begging Ibrahimovic to come to Brazil, starting with Barcelona right back Dani Alves. He is seen playing a tambourine and singing a song begging Ibrahimovic to visit.
Another star who appear in the video is Denilson, who was once the world's most expensive player when he signed for Real Betis in a £21million deal back in 1998. The biggest name to appear is football legend Ronaldo, who, like Cristiano also played his best years in Real Madrid and is now called the Original Ronaldo.
The video ends with Felipe Andreoli of Desimpedidos asking everyone to jump in and help spread the word and says: 'We already have the tickets. Now we just need Ibra here.In order to reach him we need your help. Use the hashtag #vemibra on Twitter and Facebook.'
It seems like the campaign may have worked! Zlatan Ibrahimovic posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a note hinting that he just might show up in Brazil.