Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told ESPN that he never had a problem with any of his coaches, including Pep Guardiola, and that any issues came from their side.
Ibrahimovic left Barcelona after only one year playing under Guardiola, famously writing in his autobiography that: “When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari. If you drive a Ferrari you put premium fuel in the tank, you drive onto the motorway and you floor the accelerator. Guardiola filled up with diesel and went for a spin in the countryside. If that’s what he wanted, he should have bought himself a Fiat from the start.”
Asked if there was anything he regretted in his career, Ibrahimovic told the Heineken ESPN FC Boot Room: “I think everything that happened was supposed to happen. I don’t regret any of the moves I’ve made, the clubs I’ve played for. I had some moments where it was difficult — we all have that, we are not superheroes every day — but it’s good to have moments that are difficult. You become stronger from it, you learn from it. It’s not perfect everywhere.”
As an example, the striker spoke about his poor second season at Juventus and added: “In Barcelona, the first season but the second half of the season was a challenge for me because I came into a situation where the coach [Guardiola] wasn’t speaking to me, and that was something new for me.
“I’m not the person who — if I don’t have a problem, I will approach you. It’s about the person who has the problem, he should approach the other one and we resolve it like men.”
Guardiola and Ibrahimovic have been involved in a public spat over recent years, but the Swedish striker insists he has never had issues with any of his managers.
“I did not have the problem [with Guardiola], so it cannot bother me,” he said. “It has to bother the other one, because I did not have the problem.
“Because I said, I am the person — I said here in the first press conference: if somebody disagrees with me or doesn’t want me, doesn’t like me, they say I walk strange, I don’t look good, I talk different, I don’t talk good — you tell me. We take the contract, cancel it, and I walk away. I’m not here to give problems, and I didn’t have problems anywhere.
“And when I was in Barcelona, I resolved the problem by saying, ‘No problem. If you have a problem, I will resolve it for you: I leave.’ I will not stay here and give you problems, I’m not that guy.”
Ibrahimovic added that he had worked under such hard taskmasters as Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho and had never fallen out with them, so doesn’t deserve his reputation as a troublemaker.
“It has come in the media that coaches have problems with me, my character — that is not true. That is all bulls—. I did not have problems with any coach,” he said.
“If somebody had problems, it was the coach who had a problem I did not know about … I had the hardest coaches in the world. I had Fabio Capello — that was a machine, all about discipline and respect. And I didn’t have a single problem, because when we had one we resolved it.
“I had Mourinho. Mourinho is known, everybody knows that he is for discipline and respect. He doesn’t accept nothing. And I didn’t even have one problem.
“So somebody had a problem that he didn’t resolve, but I cannot resolve problems for other ones because I did not know even what the problem was.”