Stamford Bridge

Next Game

Chelsea v Stoke

Saturday, 04 April 2015, 17:30

Barclays Prem

The KC Stadium

Last Game

Hull City 2 - 3 Chelsea

Sunday, 22 March 2015, 16:00

Barclays Prem

Ibrahimovic blasts Guardiola

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that he was 'willing to die' for Jose Mourinho but described Pep Guardiola as a 'spineless coward'.

Last Updated: 06/09/13 at 21:11 Post Comment

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Describes Pep Guardiola as a 'spineless coward' in a

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Describes Pep Guardiola as a 'spineless coward' in a

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Ibrahimovic played under Mourinho at Inter Milan and says the Portuguese was an inspirational coach due to his man-management style and tactical nous.

"Mourinho would become a guy I was basically willing to die for," he wrote in his autobiography I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, excerpts of which have been reported in the Daily Mail.

"He works twice as hard as all the rest. Lives and breathes football 24/7. I've never met a manager with that kind of knowledge about the opposing sides. It was everything, right down to the third-choice goalkeeper's shoe size.

"It was a while before I met him. He's elegant, he's confident, but I was surprised. He looked small next to the players but I sensed it immediately: there was this vibe around him.

"Mourinho created personal ties with the players with his text messages and his knowledge of our situations with wives and children, and he didn't shout. He built us up before matches. It was like theatre, a psychological game."

Ibrahimovic went on to make a big-money move to Barcelona in 2009 but spent just a year at Camp Nou and he blames Guardiola for his troubles.

Recalling one incident when he lost his temper after Barca lost to Mourinho's Inter in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals and he had angrily shouted at his manager, Ibrahimovic said: "I completely lost it, and you might have expected Guardiola to say a few words in response, but he's a spineless coward."

Ibrahimovic admits he was surprised by the way players were expected to behave at Barcelona and does not believe he fitted in under Guardiola.

The Swede, who now plays for Paris St Germain, explained: "I'd already got the impression that Barcelona was a little like being back at Ajax, it was like being back at school.

"None of the lads acted like superstars, which was strange. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, the whole gang - they were like schoolboys. The best footballers in the world stood there with their heads bowed, and I didn't understand any of it. It was ridiculous.

"Everyone did as they were told. I didn't fit in, not at all. I thought, just enjoy the opportunity, don't confirm their prejudices. So I started to adapt and blend in. I became way too nice. It was mental.

"I said what I thought people wanted me to say. It was completely messed up. I drove the club's Audi and stood there and nodded my head. I hardly even yelled at my team-mates any more. I was boring. Zlatan was no longer Zlatan."

Ibrahimovic was also disappointed that Guardiola changed Barcelona's game to suit Lionel Messi and felt that he was being unfairly marginalised.

He said: "Guardiola sacrificed me. That's the truth. One of my mates told me: 'Zlatan, it's as if Barca had bought a Ferrari and was driving it like a Fiat,' and I thought: 'Yeah, that's a good way of looking at it.' Guardiola had turned me into a simpler player and a worse player. It was a loss for the whole team.

"He wouldn't even say good morning. Not a single word. He avoided eye contact with me. If I went into a room, he would leave. 'What's going on,' I thought. 'Is it something I did? Do I look wrong? Am I talking funny?' All these things were buzzing around in my head. I couldn't sleep.

"I was thinking about it constantly. Not because I needed Guardiola's love, exactly. He could hate me, as far as I was concerned. Hatred and revenge get me going. Now, though, I lost my focus.

"Because of Guardiola's problem, the club were forced to do a disastrous deal to sell me - it was crazy. I'd scored 22 goals and 15 assists during my season at Barcelona. Yet I'd lost nearly 70 per cent of my value. Whose fault was that? Guardiola, the quiet little over-thinker, had tried to wreck me."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

Footer 365

De Gea: United 'cannot' fail

David De Gea says that Manchester United must qualify for the Champions League next season "no matter what".

Lucas ready to make an impact

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is looking to recapture what he considers his best form in two years after recovering from injury.

Mats Hummels denies promising to join Manchester United

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels has denied making any promise to join Manchester United.

Mail Box

Is This The End Of Ex-Players As Managers?

Do massive wages and cushty TV numbers signal the end of the ex-high-profile player turned manager? Plus Liverpool fans don't actually say the 'next year' thing...

A Solution For The Premier League's 39th Game...

One morning Mailboxer solves the 39th game conundrum. Plus England were actually alright, Harry Kane is rubbish again and do Arsenal have the most embarrassing fans?

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company