On 27th July 2009, Barcelona signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic for €46 million plus Samuel Eto'o. The total deal cost Barcelona around €70 million in monetary and player values.
When Pep Guardiola took charge of Barcelona in 2008 he made it clear that senior players Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto'o and Zambrotta were not a part of his plans. While the other three players were sold Eto'o ended up staying. The Cameroonian formed a formidable front three with Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi as Barcelona famously won the Treble.
The trio of Lionel Messi (38 goals), Eto'o (36 goals) and Thierry Henry (26 goals) scored exactly 100 goals between them in the club's historic treble year. Samuel Eto'o had fallen out with then Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola over favouritism towards other players and lack of appreciation and wanted a transfer.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic also had an incredible 2008/09 season with Inter Milan. Under Jose Mourinho, Inter Milan won the Serie A and the Supercoppa Italiana. Ibrahimovic scored 29 goals in all competitions winning the Serie A golden boot. He was also named both Footballer of the Year and Foreign Footballer of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Swap deals in football usually work for only one club, in the Eto'o-Ibrahimovic swap Inter Milan were the clear winners. Samuel Eto'o scored 16 goals in all competitions from the right-wing as Inter Milan won the Treble. Eto'o became the first and only player to win back to back Trebles with two different clubs. In the following season, Eto'o scored 37 goals in all competitions as Inter won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana. After two successful seasons for the Nerazzurri, the striker moved to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
Ibrahimovic had a tough time at Barcelona under manager Pep Guardiola. His first season with Barcelona turned out to be his last. Ibrahimovic started the season well with 11 goals and 4 assists in Barcelona's first 15 league matches. Ibrahimovic fell out with Pep Guardiola and Ibrahimovic left for A.C Milan after just one season at the Camp Nou.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed to the media that his relationship with Guardiola had started deteriorating and that Guardiola had not spoken to him since February. In his autobiography I Am Zlatan, he states, "'It started well but then Messi started to talk. He wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, so the system changed from 4–3–3 to 4–5–1. I was sacrificed and no longer had the freedom on the pitch I need to succeed."
The Eto'o-Ibrahimovic swap deal remains one of the most iconic swap deals in football history. Eto'o himself claimed that Inter striked the best deal in football history and Pep Guardiola was the main reason that the deal went through.