Ego is a mandatory part of success as, if deployed correctly, it creates a winner's attitude which permeates throughout an organisation until a Champion is born.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic absolutely ‘Zlataned’ LAFC on Saturday afternoon and made the MLS recognize that he, and him alone, is a force to be reckoned with. The LA Galaxy aren’t a particularly strong team and their captain, Ashley Cole, is a shadow of his old self. In fact, I thought he was the weak link in the back four that the Galaxy deployed; two of LAFC’s three goals came down the left as his declining pace and awareness was exploited. However, Champions aren’t always the most talented team. Over time, Zlatan’s persona and positive ego will inevitably wear on the Galaxy squad and they will develop a mentality of Champions. He’s done it at every club he played for. To have an impact, Zlatan needs to be in the thick of the action, which he will be in LA.
The emphasis which players with big, positive personalities can have on a team are often greater than that of a superbly talented footballer. Take for example the everlasting comparison between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Ronaldo managed to take a Portugal squad, average in calibre, to win the European Cup in France when they defeated the host nation in the final. Messi has not been able to replicate the same with a far superior Argentina. The reason is the strong character which Ronaldo possesses adds an x-factor to his talent; a trait which Messi does not hold.
The role of a manger in all of the above is key as the it is their responsibility to balance a squad with players of different, compatible characteristics. They must also ensure that the strong personalities do not discourage the quiet souls from being expressive on the pitch. We often under-estimate the value a good manager brings for they are not only a shepherd of success but an invigilator between players of differing characteristics.
The personality of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has added an irresistible flavour to the MLS – one greater than any other designated player I’ve witnessed. David Beckham was an originator but the gulf in talent between the two players is distinguishable. I’ll definitely be watching with bated breath as I feel a healthy Zlatan can lead the LA Galaxy to the MLS Championship in 2018.