Zlatan Ibrahimovic added a new wrinkle to his troubled relationship with Pep Guardiola by describing the Manchester City manager as one of the most “immature” coaches he’s played for throughout his career.
Ibrahimovic claims that things between the two took a turn for the worse six months into his arrival at the Camp Nou from Inter Milan, when he voiced his concern over Guardiola’s tactics, which seemed to favour superstar Lionel Messi.
“The first six months were perfect, then the manager changed system, tactics, and it didn’t work for me. I went to talk to him,” Ibrahimovic told Sky Sports Italia, as translated by Samuel Marsden of ESPN FC. “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. 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 (coach) I’ve had because a man solves his problems.”
After leaving Barcelona in 2010, Ibrahimovic described Guardiola as a “spineless coward” in his autobiography “I am Zlatan”following a confrontation with the Catalan manager in the dressing room when Barcelona was eliminated from the Champions League by Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan.
“I completely lost it, and you might have expected Guardiola to say a few words in response, but he’s a spineless coward,” he said. “He just picked up the metal box, like a little caretaker, and then left, never to mention it again, not a word.”