From dressing as cows and dancing at galas, to winning trophies and defeating Gala: the Swedes’ crazy capers have paid off handsomely
Poor old Zlatan. When the legendary forward turned up at the Swedish Player of the Year gala at the end of 2016, all he probably wanted to do was pick up the award for the 11th time and sneak off home. Instead, he had to sit through a bizarre dance display from the players of Ostersund.
Ibrahimovic looked rather non-plussed as the entire Ostersund squad completed a carefully choreographed routine, jazz hands and all, to There’s No Business Like Show Business while wearing full kit (right). It wasn’t even the first time they had done mad stuff on stage, either. The squad previously took part in a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and there was also a play in which defender Dennis Widgren dressed up as a cow (above). Well, why not?
But if you thought this was the Allsvenskan outfit’s way of compensating for a lack of success on the field, you’d be wrong. They may be based in a small city 300 miles north of Stockholm, but they’ve risen from the fourth tier to the top flight in recent seasons under the management of former Stoke full-back Graham Potter. Just months after their dance performance in front of Zlatan, they lifted the Swedish Cup and sealed a spot in the Europa League, where they only went and beat Galatasaray aided by a 92-minute goal from former York City and Ossett Town midfielder Jamie Hopcutt.
And Ostersund’s stage performances have fostered team unity: former army lieutenant Daniel Kindberg, the club’s chairman, believes in taking players out of their comfort zone for the sake of team bonding, and it has worked wonders so far. But given the perplexed look on Zlatan’s face at that awards gala, he probably won’t be signing any time soon.