Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a great man. We all know that. But Marca just ran a Q&A with Zlatan’s agent, Mino Raiola, in which we learn that Zlatan hated Pep Guardiola so much that he wanted to sign for Real Madrid after leaving Barcelona. Essentially, Zlatan’s greater than you initially thought.
Here are some of the highlights (in italics):
Marca: Ibrahimovic has played for many clubs but not Real Madrid …
Raiola: Real Madrid is a political club and not a normal club. I don’t understand the way they do things. It would have been the perfect club for him because he’s a great player, he’s passionate and because he can do something amazing at any moment. I don’t know if it was my fault.
If Raiola prevented us from seeing Zlatan go to Real Madrid, he needs to fire himself several years ago.
Marca: Do you think he has any regrets about not joining Real Madrid?
Raiola: I don’t think he regrets anything. Zlatan wanted to play for Real when he left Barça. It would have been the ideal move. The perfect revenge against Guardiola.
That last sentence is so wonderful. “The perfect revenge against Guardiola.” Zlatan wanted revenge against Guardiola. Maybe Zlatan still wants revenge against Guardiola. I’m pretty sure we all want to imagine Zlatan in his basement clumsily smearing on red lipsticks while signing along to the Gypsy Kings and air drumming. Otherwise it isn’t perfect revenge.
Marca: But could he have joined Real at one point?
Raiola: Ancelotti wanted him and I went to a meeting in Madrid, but José Ángel Sánchez called [PSG president Nasser] Al Khelaifi and cancelled it.
Cristiano and Zlatan. Imagine the “pass me the goddamn ball now” drama. We were close, guys. We were so close.
Marca: Did [a strained relationship with Guardiola] have something to do with Leo Messi?
Raiola: I don’t know, but I remember Txiki Begiristain [Barcelona’s director of football at the time] called me in November and told me he wanted to talk with me. ‘Look. Messi is upset, he’s not happy. He’s not scoring many goals and Zlatan has to help him’. Ibra said it was fine and agreed. One month later Txiki told me Guardiola was going to change the system in spite of him not agreeing. ‘No problem’ I told him. Txiki then tells me there’s a problem. ‘Messi was upset and went crying to Guardiola and he’s going to play through the middle and Guardiola’s not going to play two strikers’. Pep didn’t speak to Zlatan again, not even when he was injured.
Txiki seems to be talking to Raiola a lot. He sounds more like a communications director than a director of football. Otherwise, I’m enjoying this scorched earth campaign. Let’s continue.
Marca: And what did Zlatan do?
Raiola: He was more professional than ever and wanted to sign for Real Madrid, but they didn’t have the balls at the Bernabéu and no clear plan. I don’t think Ibra will finish his career at PSG.
There’s a lot in this Q&A, so here’s a quick rundown of what I learned:
- Zlatan knows how to do vengeance.
- Pep Guardiola needs
- Raiola shouldn’t be talking about Zlatan’s business/revenge plans?
- Even Zlatan isn’t immune to MLS rumors.
- He said Messi “went crying to Guardiola” and I have to believe that actual Messi tears were shed.
- We should start a list of people who hate Guardiola.
- That last sentence. “I don’t think Ibra will finish his career at PSG.” It isn’t even a reasonable response to the question posed. Basically, Marca asked what happened when Pep and Zlatan had a falling out and Raiola’s response was: “I don’t think Ibra will finish his career at PSG.” That’s hilarious.
Zlatan stories are magical, even when they aren’t told by Zlatan.