'He wants revenge on Guardiola'- Ibrahimovic's malevolent motivation for Man United move
Published 21/06/2016 | 20:13
When you’ve long-since accrued a surfeit of money, medals and acclaim, there can be few more commendable reasons to join a club than good-old fashioned revenge.
Since Jose Mourinho’s appointment at Old Trafford, no player has been muted more as a potential acquisition than the great ego himself, Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Of course, the duo have previous, having worked together at Inter Milan before the Swede departed for Barcelona and Samuel Eto’o went the other way.
Indeed, following Mourinho's arrival at Manchester United - which coincided with Ibrahimović’s departure from PSG as a free agent - the pair have positively gushed over one another whenever permitted to do so by the media.
Aside from an extremely healthy self-esteem, they also share a visceral disdain for new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
Ibrahimović spent one tumultuous season at Nou Camp and, as chronicled in his autobiography, he and the Catalan coach did not see eye to eye.
Having found the net 16 times in 29 appearances, the former Ajax star helped Barca to the La Liga title in the 2009-10 campaign, then duly departed for AC Milan on loan before making the move permanent.
Lest we forget, when Mourinho and Guardiola were on opposite sides of the El Classico divide, their rivalry was without equal in terms of hatred and unsavouriness.
Now, they will be pitted against each other once again, not only in the same league but the same city. It promises to make for compelling viewing regardless of what Ibrahimović decides to do next
However, his agent, Mino Raiola, who is also endeavouring to secure Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, said the self-proclaimed legend could finally arrive in England to exact vengeance on his old manager.
The reputed €300k a week he’ll earn while at Old Trafford probably helps, but Raiola reckons Ibrahimović is eager to settle a few scores.
“I think he wants revenge on Guardiola, although he does not live for it because you shouldn’t have two graves – one for him and one for the enemy,” he told Spanish newspaper Marca.
“You learn more from defeats than you do from victories, and Zlatan learned a lot from what happened with Guardiola. As a person, I don’t like him either.
“Zlatan admits he is a great coach and I can think it but refuse to admit it.”
Meanwhile, Ibrahimović announced today that he will retire from international football at the end of the European Championships. Sweden play Belgium in Nice on Wednesday and must win to stand any chance of progressing from Group E.