Quotes on: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Brondby and Ajax

“I could see immediately that he had something special but I did not think he would become such a big star. He was big, good technically and could read the game.”
– John Steen Olsen
(the scout who recommended Ibra to Ajax)

“Zlatan is fantastic and, honestly, I get angry when people say bad things about him. He is an intelligent and pleasant guy. He’s the best player I ever recommended to Ajax.”
– John Steen Olsen
(the scout who recommended Ibra to Ajax)

“For me there are three players: Pele, Johan Cruyff and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They are the three best players ever.”
– John Steen Olsen
(the scout who recommended Ibra to Ajax)

Juventus

“We used to sleep in the same room before games. One night, he woke up. Ibra told me, ‘Adi, wake up! I had a nightmare. I dreamed Ronaldo was better than me!’ He only went back to sleep after I told him, ‘No, Zlatan, no! You are the best in the world! Calm down!’” – Adrian Mutu

Inter Milan

“I don’t understand when people say he is a difficult guy to work with or a difficult personality. When you have somebody that is a winner and wants to win all the time, I think he is very, very easy. I only coached him for a year but it was a good year, a good experience and I rate him as one of the best players I have ever coached.”
– Jose Mourinho

Barcelona

“He is an amazing player, someone really special who has marked an era. He has won league titles wherever he went. Of course, he can be quite temperamental. He says what he thinks, but that has never bothered me. There are not a lot of players with his character.”
– Thierry Henry

“Wow! As a person, as an individual he is for me bigger and stronger than anyone else in the world. At Barcelona, he was sometimes one against all, against the whole world. The team did not quite accept him, the fans were against it, but he did not bend for a centimetre! At each training session, in every public statement, he said: “I am the best” and he proved it by his performance.
Once I talked to Ibra and he said the following: “It is important for me to prove it to myself at every single training. If I am odd there, then later I will be odd on the field.” Do you understand? To himself! He says, “When I’m the best in training, I take to the pitch for the match with the feeling that I am a god!” You should have seen how he works, it’s incredible! He cannot lose in nothing at all and just nowhere.
[ . . . ]
I don’t say that he is the most skillful – in this respect there still were some cooler people. [ . . . ] But as a personality, Ibra is above all!
[ . . . ]
Ibra is unbelievable. The outstanding football personality. Yes, he can cause the coach problems in the changing room. But as a teammate and a football player he is the best!”
– Dmytro Chygrynskiy

AC Milan

“With him, you have to use both the stick and the carrot. Ibra is a strong personality and needs to be relaxed at times, while in other occasions he has to be stimulated, otherwise he falls asleep.”
– Massimiliano Allegri

 Paris Saint-Germain

“He is a physically magnificent specimen [ . . . ]. I’ve played with or against the very best in the world. I want to say that I have never met anyone who was so serious during both practice and games. When I came to Paris I knew that he was an incomparable talent as a player, but he’d be so tough and merciless on himself at all times, I had no idea. He is a born winner. He is a beast with huge self-confidence, and I’m one of his biggest admirers.”
– David Beckham

“He jokes and he is a very happy man, but he’s just kidding around. But the image that people have of him is all wrong. He loves to joke and that is just the way he is, but inside there is a great professional.”
– Carlo Ancelotti

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tremendous leadership qualities. He was the hardest I’d ever seen on his own team-mates about standards, whether the kind of ball, the effort, off-the-field stuff. [ . . . ] That’s a big part of why he’s got to where he is. He’s so arrogant he’s actually likeable.”
– Paul Clement

“It is really sad he never played in England. He would have been brilliant for the game. He’s bright, he’s got unbelievable charisma, he’s a gentleman and unbelievable talent.”
– Paul Clement

“We haven’t had a goalscorer like him in France for a long time. He is on a different planet to anyone else.”
– Jean-Pierre Papin

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the greatest foreign player ever to play in France.”
– Christophe Galtier

“Zlatan has a particular personality. At each training sessions he wants to win. That’s something positive. And the other thing [that strikes me] when I look at him is that it’s all about his personality. Any time he wants to say something to you, he would say it face to face. That’s positive. Quite often, players don’t speak face to face, they speak behind your back. So I think, what Zlatan does is very positive. He has a strong personality but people in front of their TV think that he is arrogant. He is not arrogant. He is still very good and for PSG, he is a very, very important player. I think he is one the best players I played with. I played with [Clarence] Seedorf, Ronaldinho, [Andrea] Pirlo, [Alessandro] Nesta – they are all quality players. He is different. He is strong physically and he also has technique, but he has a bigger personality. That makes him a great player. I hope he can finish his career with a Champions League title.”
– Thiago Silva

“When I see his stats and the records he is breaking – records were just a matter of time. When people ask me if I’m surprised he has scored so many goals, no I’m not. He is a player whos has always scored goals – in Spain, in Italy. His statistics are unbelievable. He is an incredible competitor. He wants to win everything, he wants to score more goals. [ . . . ] When I hear people questioning his abilities it means they don’t know a thing about football. He can have difficult patches of form but when you see what he has done, and I don’t think it’s over, I think it’s impressive.”
– Laurent Blanc

Manchester United

“Zlatan came into the dressing room and he already had an aura. He has this thing about him, it is a presence and a stature. He is tall, powerful and, on the training pitch, you can see he has a lot of quality. [ . . . ] you can see his touch, his movement and his way of seeing football is brilliant, so this season I think he will give us something great.”
– Morgan Schneiderlin

Others

“Zlatan is unique – he’s the only player in the world who measures 1.96 metres, has the technique of Lionel Messi, the character of Muhammad Ali, and the strength of Mike Tyson.”
– Mino Raiola

“When he’s on form, he’s unstoppable. He’s at the same level as [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi. He has the strength, the technique and the intelligence. He’s an extraordinary player.”
– Gianfranco Zola

“Of course it will be hard for anybody to do what van Basten did during his career. [ . . . ] the way he moves with the ball really does remind me of van Basten.”
– Paolo Maldini

“Zlatan is a beast. He is one of those players that I like because of his character and his quality. He is among the best strikers in football history.”
– Diego Costa

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