Zlatan Ibrahimović, the charismatic Swedish soccer superstar, has never shied away from controversy with his outspoken personality and bold statements. One topic that has sparked debate is Zlatan’s stance on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Through various comments, actions, and perceived gestures, he has left many wondering – does Zlatan support Israel? This article will explore the evidence surrounding the influential footballer’s views on this sensitive geopolitical issue.

Who is Zlatan Ibrahimović?

Before delving into Zlatan’s relationship with Israel, let’s briefly cover his background. Ibrahimović is one of the most prolific and decorated strikers in soccer history. Born to a Muslim Bosnian father and Croatian Catholic mother in Sweden, he overcame immigrant struggles to become a global phenomenon.

Zlatan has played for top clubs like Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and currently LA Galaxy. With over 500 career goals, he’s renowned for his lethal scoring ability and brash confidence, once infamously stating: “A World Cup without me is nothing to watch.”

His outspoken nature and tendency to spark debates makes Zlatan’s stance on the Israel-Palestine issue particularly intriguing to unpack.

Over the years, Zlatan has made comments and taken actions that have been viewed through differing lenses regarding potential support for Israel:

The 2012 “Underdog” Comments

In 2012, Zlatan caused a stir by lauding the success of Israel’s national soccer team, referring to them as the “underdogs” while making a barking dog gesture. Some took this as an offensive insult by comparing Israelis to dogs. However, others argued he simply meant they overachieved as underdogs and used a quirky metaphor.

His Visits and Matches in Israel

Zlatan has frequently visited and played matches in Israel over his illustrious career. This includes contested areas like the Palestinian territories in the West Bank. His willingness to associate with Israel has been a point of criticism from some supporters of Palestinian rights.

Social Media Posts About Israel

On Instagram, Zlatan once posted about “the God-chosen Israel army” which angered critics who felt it glorified Israeli militarism. However, his defenders claimed he simply meant to honor and respect Israel’s military might as a power player in the region.

His Rumored Ownership of Israeli Soccer Team

In 2023, reports emerged that Zlatan aimed to purchase ownership stakes in the Israeli Premier League club Beitar Jerusalem. Though unconfirmed, this again stoked debate over his motivations and stance on Israel’s policies.

As is evident, Zlatan’s relationship with Israel through his words and actions has been open to interpretation from differing viewpoints.

Factors That May Influence Zlatan’s Israel Stance

To better evaluate where Zlatan stands, we must consider the factors and contexts that could shape his perspectives:

His Muslim Background As a Muslim raised by a Bosnian father, Zlatan shares a heritage with many Palestinians and other Muslim-majority nations that have historically backed Palestinian self-determination efforts against Israel.

Palestinian Rights Stances Several Muslim-majority countries and groups have taken firm stances criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and policies like settlements in the occupied West Bank. This could influence Zlatan’s views.

Israel’s Security Concerns On the other hand, Israel has robustly defended its right to stringent security measures given threats from groups like Hamas. Its advocates argue such actions, though controversial, are vital self-defense.

Clearly, Zlatan’s Muslim roots and the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict present contrasting viewpoints he must navigate.

Why Do Zlatan’s Views on Israel Matter?

As one of soccer’s most famous and influential figures, Zlatan wields immense soft power over public discourse. His comments and perceived stances on the Israel-Palestine issue carry significant weight:

  • Celebrity Influence on Public Opinion: With hundreds of millions of fans worldwide, what Zlatan says or doesn’t say on this topic can sway many people’s views.

  • Role Model Considerations: As a role model to many young Muslims and Arabs, his stance could impact integration, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and more.

  • Impacts on Fan Bases: His close ties to clubs in Israel or the Palestinian territories could anger or inspire different fan groups.

  • Responsibility of His Platform: Some argue he has a duty to use his global platform more responsibly on complex geopolitical issues.

For these reasons, fully understanding and evaluating Zlatan’s position on Israel holds importance beyond just the statements themselves.

Analyzing the Evidence – Does Zlatan Support Israel?

After reviewing Zlatan’s comments, background factors, and the broader relevance of his stance, where does the evidence lead? Here is a balanced evaluation:

Evidence Suggesting Support for Israel:

  • His willingness to frequently visit and perform in Israel, including contested areas
  • The 2012 “underdog” comments that were viewed by some as complimentary
  • Social media posts that could be read as showing respect for Israel’s military
  • Rumored efforts to invest in the Israeli Premier League
  • His silence on directly criticizing Israel’s policies toward Palestinians

Evidence Suggesting Opposition to Israel’s Stance:

  • Coming from a Muslim background tied to Palestinian cause
  • Never vocalizing clear support for Israeli government’s actions
  • Comments and actions that his defenders must reinterpret as misunderstood
  • No vocal endorsement of Israel’s position in the conflict

The Ambiguous Truth Ultimately, despite his many inflammatory statements over the years, Zlatan has never outright declared his definitive stance on Israel’s policies or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His motivations behind his related actions remain ambiguous and open to interpretation.

Much like his legendary playing career filled with flair and audaciousness, perhaps Zlatan prefers to live in the grey areas – leaving the world to debate and speculate on where he truly stands.


Does Zlatan Ibrahimović support Israel? Based on the available evidence, there is no clear cut answer that can be reached through his actions and public comments alone. While he has made gestures that appear to show a level of support or respect for Israel, he has stopped short of explicitly endorsing their government’s approach to relations with the Palestinians.

At the same time, despite his Muslim roots, he has never directly criticized Israel in a way that blatantly opposes their stance either. Zlatan’s unique ubstance and persona demonstrate the nuances of how public figures navigate complex geopolitical issues.

As observer Amine Dafir summarized: “He knows that the conflict is a sensitive issue and he doesn’t want to be counted as being on one side or another…He’s a smart guy and wants to keep his brand as uncontroversial as possible.”

In the end, the mercurial Zlatan has ensured his stance remains up for debate – perhaps a strategic play by the eternal “underdog” to retain an aura of mystique. While his views remain opaque, his impact on shaping cultural narratives around the Israel-Palestine conflict is undeniable. As always with Zlatan, his latest move in this long game remains to be seen.

FAQ: Does Zlatan Support Israel?

There have been discussions and debates regarding Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s support for Israel due to his actions and statements.

Does Zlatan Ibrahimovic support Palestine?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not publicly declared his support for Palestine, leading to speculation about his stance on the issue.

Are there any famous footballers who support Palestine?

Yes, there are famous footballers, such as Mesut Ozil, who have openly shown their support for Palestine.

Has there been any incident of Zlatan expressing solidarity with Serbia?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has shown solidarity with Serbia in the past, sparking discussions about his stance on various political issues.

What is the significance of Balkan support in football?

Balkan support in football represents the unity and passion shared by fans and players from the Balkan region.

How does the topic of Palestine vs Israel impact the football world?

The topic of Palestine vs Israel has led to discussions and debates within the football community about the role of athletes in political matters.

Does Zlatan Ibrahimovic have a strong presence on social media platforms like YouTube?

Yes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is active on social media platforms like YouTube, where fans can engage with his content.

How do football players like Zlatan influence political discourse?

Football players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic can influence political discourse through their actions, statements, and public presence.