By Chris Wright
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has written a book and, from the sound of the quotes that have been drip-dripping for the past few days, it’s exactly the kind of book that you’d expect – namely, 300 pages documenting his innate greatness and comprehensively listing all the people he wants to kick into the middle of next week.
Sadly, Ibra’s tome is not going to be translated into English for some reason, so we thought we’d bring you the best quotes that we’ve heard translated from the Swedish vernacular since ‘Jar Är Zlatan’ (I Am Zlatan) started circulating last week…
1. “I got a bike when I was little, a BMX. I called it ‘Fido Dido’ after the tough little cartoon guy with spiked hair. I thought he was the coolest thing ever.
“The bike got stolen outside of the Rosengård swimming baths and Dad went there with his shirt open and sleeves rolled up. He’s the kind of person that says: ‘No one touches my kids! No one takes their stuff’. But not even a tough guy like him could do anything about it. Fido Dido was gone, and I was crushed.”
2. “I felt like crap when I was sitting in the locker room with Guardiola staring at me like I was an annoying distraction, an outsider. It was nuts. He was a wall, a stone wall. I didn’t get any sign of life from him and I was wishing myself away every moment with the team.”
3. “Then Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced bullshit about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff.”
4. “Jose Mourinho is a big star…He’s cool. The first time he met [my wife] he whispered to her: ‘Helena, you have only one mission. Feed Zlatan, let him sleep, keep him happy!’ The guy says what he wants. I like him.”
5. “Mourinho is Guardiola’s opposite. If Mourinho brightens up the room, Guardiola pulls down the curtains and I guessed that Guardiola now tried to measure himself with him.”
6. “An injured Zlatan is a pretty serious thing for any team.”
7. “Lionel Messi is awesome. He’s unbelievable, but I don’t really know him. We are totally different. He came to Barça as a 13-year old. He’s raised in that culture and has no problems with that ‘school’ shit. In the team, the play is all around him, pretty naturally actually. He’s brilliant, but now I had arrived [at Barca] and scored more goals than him.”
8. “It was a childhood dream [to play for Barca] and I was walking on air. It started well but then Messi started to talk. He wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, so the system changed. I was sacrificed.”
9. “I barely yelled at my teammates any more. Something had happened, nothing serious, not yet, but still. I became quiet and that’s lethal, believe me. I have to be angry to play well. I have to scream and shout. Now I kept it in.”
10. “I asked for a meeting with Guardiola – for a discussion, not an argument. I said I was being used in the wrong way and that they shouldn’t have bought me if they wanted another type of player.
“I told him what a friend had said to me – ‘you bought a Ferrari but drive it like a Fiat’. The chat seemed to go well but then Guardiola started to freeze me out.”
11. “I would walk into a room; he would leave. He would greet everyone by saying hello, but would ignore me. I had done a lot to adapt – the Barca players were like schoolboys, following the coach blindly, whereas I was used to asking ‘why should we?”
12. “At Barca, players were banned from driving their sports cars to training. I thought this was ridiculous – it was no one’s business what car I drive – so in April, before a match with Almeria, I drove my Ferrari Enzo to work. It caused a scene.”
13. “(Guardiola) was staring at me and I lost it. I thought ‘there is my enemy, scratching his bald head!’. I yelled to him: ‘You have no balls!’ and probably worse things than that.
“I added: ‘You are shitting yourself because of Jose Mourinho. You can go to hell!’. I was completely mad. I threw a box full of training gear across the room, it crashed to the floor and Pep said nothing, just put stuff back in the box. I’m not violent, but if I were Guardiola I would have been frightened.”
14. On reports of ‘excessive behaviour’ following Juventus’ 2005 title win: “It was the fault of David Trezeguet, who made me do one drink of vodka after another. I slept in the bathtub. Now I hold my vodka much better.”
15. When asked about Mario Balotelli’s recent tomfoolery: “I like fireworks too, but I set them off in gardens or kebab stands. I never set fire to my own house.”
(The last two quotes are lifted from a Gazzetta interview with Ibra conducted during his promo tour – though the questions were based on excerpts from the book)
While we’re pretty sure ‘Jar Är Zlatan’ must touch on other subjects (surely there’s at least one chapter dedicated to Gerard Pique?), it certainly seems that at least 80% of the book is just full-on Pep-bashing which, in theory, should make for a decent read.
And remember kids! Only set off fireworks at kebab stands!