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Zlatan emerges fully formed and magnificently mad from his autobiography . . .

TO Tenerife.

There to parade on the Playa de Los Cristianos with my Speedos. At this time of year in the Canaries, I am the only man to have both my own hips. Recorded my strut on video. My mate Tam has watched it, describing it as "the most horrific beach scene since the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

Sport in Tenerife in January is normally restricted to the continual grands prix around the back streets conducted entirely in mobility scooters. These all congregate at the end of the day in the pit lane, otherwise described as the reception of my hotel.

I swerve around these deftly. The change of direction is entirely a result of those hips, the dribbling is a direct consequence of a small stroke.

My sporting activities on holiday extend somewhat further than the mobility scooter slalom. They include the reading of a sporting biography. This year, wondrously and marvellously, it was the life and times of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is, frankly, as mad as an English tourist who has been told all queues have been abolished, the mobility scooter will be road-taxed and there is a heatwave at home.

Zlatan grew up in a part of Malmo that resembles the Alamo, although it is a bit colder. The fighting seems fiercer, though, and Zlatan was the type of boy who admitted to having to battle for his place in the side, most usually by applying his napper to the forehead of the nearest adversary.

The son of a Bosnian father and a Croatian mother, Zlatan lived in a notorious housing estate that ensured he complemented his knack of stealing in at the back post with nicking bikes, including one owned by a coach. Though why a bus should need a bike is beyond me.

There was a petition drawn up by parents in the Malmo youth team seeking to exclude young Zlatan from all sporting activities. Thankfully, this was resisted and the Swede has gone on to win 10 major titles in five different countries: Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France. He has played for Malmo, Ajax, AC and Inter Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, and Paris St Germain, winning titles for all of them. He has lifted six scudetti with three different sides. Which is a lot of pasta for one fork.

There is a range of debate about his ability. But Zlatan has no doubt. "I was amazing," he writes more than once in his biography.

And amazing he is. "I don't get into punch-ups", he writes of his antics on the pitch. However, he adds in the interests of accuracy: "All right, I guess I have headbutted a few people."

His opinions are hardly as reserved as a sun lounger with a towel on it. His comments of Pep Guardiola amount to so much of a slaughtering they would not be out of place in an abattoir.

Louis Van Gaal, he observes, is a "pompous a***". He does not rate Rafael van der Vaart and there are others he criticises recklessly and entertainingly.

But it is Zlatan who emerges magnificently and fully formed from his autobiography. This is a character who has fought his way from the housing estate to the lucrative catwalk of the big arenas. He has an ego so big it would take Ranulph Fiennes and a pack of huskies to cross it successfully, but he has backed it up with medals and sackfuls of loot that have been augmented by the £12m a year he receives in Paris.

There is a poignancy about Zlatan, though. His rise and subsequent success show that there can be a route from the mean streets into top-level football. It is testimony, too, that an early life of struggle can lead to the greatest of riches.

Indeed, Zlatan's story has echoes of the lives of a generation of great Scottish players. His home was poor; his availability for coaching was minimal and his reaction to it was sometimes aggressive; his football was mainly played on spare ground; and there was a chasm awaiting if he had not instead fallen into elite football.

Yet he had talent, a will to succeed and more than a little devilment. And a touch of pace.

He writes that he has "done 325kmph in his Porsche". This is the equivalent of 200mph. It must have been him in that mobility scooter that clipped me on the promenade of Los Cristianos.

n I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic is published by Penguin at $8.99.

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