Former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has provided insight into his turbulent relationship with then-coach Pep Guardiola, shedding light on a particular clash during his time at the Catalan club.
The former Sweden captain renowned for his illustrious football career spanning over two decades, joined Barcelona from Inter Milan in 2009 with high expectations. However, his spell at Barcelona is regarded as one of the less favourable chapters in his career.
Reflecting on his tumultuous period at the Nou Camp, Ibrahimović explained that he no longer felt the freedom on the pitch necessary for his success and ultimately became surplus to requirements.
Recalling one of his early encounters with Guardiola revealed: ‘When I met Pep Guardiola, he told me: “Remember, the players here do not come with Ferraris.”‘
In response to Guardiola’s directive, Ibrahimović boldly parked his Ferrari outside Guardiola’s office, asserting his independence. He recounted the exchange: “What did I do? Of course. I brought my f***ing Ferrari. I yelled: ‘”You haven’t got any b***s!”‘ and worse than that I added: “You can go to hell!”‘ as quoted by Daily Mail.
Ibrahimović had earlier disclosed the explosive aftermath of Barcelona’s Champions League exit to Inter Milan, expressing his frustration at Guardiola’s perceived lack of response to the situation.
Discussing the tactical shift that led to him being ‘sacrificed’ in the team to favour Lionel Messi, Ibrahimović explained the transition from a 4-3-3 formation to a 4-5-1 setup.
The forward however managed 22 goals and 13 assists in 46 appearances for the club before moving on to where he further established his reputation as a prolific goalscorer.
Ibrahimović enjoyed a highly successful career, representing clubs such as AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester United before his move to MLS in 2018 to play for LA Galaxy. In 2020, he returned to AC Milan, where he remained for three years before finally hanging his boots in June 2023.