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

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

Arsenal are repoortedly keen to sign Liverpool's Raheem Sterling

Arsenal are interested in signing Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, with the winger set to reject his offer of a new deal.

European Qualifiers round-up: Wins for Germany, Portugal and Romania

Goals from Marco Reus and Thomas Muller gave Germany victory over Georgia while Portugal beat Serbia to go top of Group I.

Luis Suarez rules out joining any English club but Liverpool

Luis Suarez refused to rule out a return to Liverpool and insists he will never play for another Premier League club.

Mail Box

Forget About Flair And Play Like Greece

'Forget about flair and play like Greece' is one outsider's advice to the England national side, while an Arsenal fan wants to sell Theo Walcott to get Marco Reus.

FA Refusing To Learn From Germany

We have a postcard from Germany in the Mailbox highlighting how Greg Dyke's quick-fix approach is all wrong. Also, the clamour for Kane, and size matters, apparently...

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