Zlatan Ibrahimovic has labelled current Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola, “immature” from their time together at Barcelona.
Ibrahimovic and Guardiola were together at Barcelona for a season, in 2009-10. Despite a big money move that involved Barcelona legend Samuel Eto’o going the other way to Inter Milan, the Swede was forced to play second fiddle to a rapidly rising Lionel Messi.
He was only afforded 23 starts, scoring 16 goals. After a sparkling start where he scored 11 goals in his first 13 games, the 36-year-old’s output became subdued as his relationship with the Spanish manager broke down.
“The first six months were perfect, then the manager changed system, tactics and it didn’t work for me,” Ibrahimovic told Sky in Italy. “I went to talk to him. I’m here to talk, if you think it’s for another reason then we can’t talk.
“I said: ‘I believe that you are sacrificing some players for one player, Messi’. He said: ‘I don’t think this is the case but I understand what you say. I will take care of it, no problem, I will solve everything’. I thought it would be OK.
“The following game I was on the bench. I don’t say anything, I work,” Ibrahimovic added. “Second match bench again. I thought he solved it well and he was not talking to me or explaining. Third match bench. Then the fourth match comes and bench again.
“I think something is strange. From that moment he stopped talking to me, looking at me. I go into a room and he walks out of it. He was not a bad person, but the most immature I’ve had because a man solves his problems.”
The star striker eventually left Barcelona for AC Milan at the end of that season, due to irreparable differences with Guardiola.
Guardiola and Ibrahimovic faced off again on Sunday night, in the Manchester derby. Guardiola’s City emerged 2-1 victors, as Ibrahimovic, on his return from a cruciate injury, came on in the last 14 minutes.
Man City lead the Premier League with 46 points, while Ibrahimovic’s United sit 11 points behind in 2nd place.
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