Zlatan Ibrahimovic has called Pep Guardiola the most immature manager he has worked under for benching him during his one-year stint at Barcelona.
The big Swedish striker joined Barcelona from Inter Milan in the 2009-10 season after a successful three-year stint with the Serie A giants.
Ibrahimovic had success to begin his Barcelona career, and ended up finishing his one-year run with the club scoring 16 goals in 29 games, 23 of those starts.
On the surface, it seemed like a match made in heaven, teaming up with the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Thierry Henry, but a falling out with then-manager Pep Guardiola spoiled the party for Ibrahimovic.
Speaking this week with Sky Sports Italia after Ibrahimovic and Manchester United lost 2-1 to Guardiola and Manchester City, the striker said: “I’d scored a lot of goals in my first six months and we won two Super Cups. The first six months were perfect.”
The catalyst, Ibrahimovic claims, was his decision to confront Guardiola for a change in tactics which lessened the roles of other players in favor of expanding Messi’s.
“After that, we changed system and tactics, and it wasn’t good for me, so the club told me to talk to Guardiola.
“And I told Guardiola that he’d sacrificed the other players for Messi. He told me he understood me.
“After that, he put me on the bench for the next game, the one after that and the one after that.
“And I thought, ‘he’s solved the problem very well I see!’ After that, he didn’t talk to me or even look at me.“I’d walk into a room and he’d walk out. I’d go to meet him and he’d go somewhere else. I understood that there was something beyond football.”
Ibrahimovic voiced all these out after the post match brawl amongst he, Pep and Jose Mourinho in the dressing room after the derby match over the weekend. Certainly, there must be some extra sporting beef between the Swedish and the Spanish Manager.