In an interview with UEFA.com, Ibrahimovic let out some of his feelings and opinions about the next Champions League game between AC Milan and FC Barcelona. He was very diplomatic in his answers and tried his best to be coy about predicting the next game or who will take the top spot in Group H. Continue to read some excerpts from the interview. The original can be found here.
Ibrahimovic’s transfer in and out of FC Barcelona is probably one of the most told stories of 2009 and 2010. A blunt and direct man, Ibrahimovic is usually always very defensive about his reasons of going to AC Milan. The scorer of 21 goals in all competitions with Barcelona, Ibrahimovic had a pretty intense fallout with the club near the end of the 2009-2010 season. Although finally admitting that FC Barcelona is the best team in the world, he confessed also that his happiness is more important and the results for both sides showed that his decision to leave was in everyone’s best interest.
Reflecting on the upcoming big match, Ibra commented, “It will be a very exciting, fantastic game,” before adding, “We will be playing against the best team in the world, without doubt. Even when I left the team, I knew I’d left the best team in the world. But, for me and all the other parties involved, I think the best solution was to leave the club. Given the results for both sides, it was the best solution.”
With Barcelona proceeding to win the Champions League and La Liga, and Ibra helping to end Milan’s seven year title drought, it really did seem that everything was back on track. “For me, it’s important that you’re happy when you play. If you’re happy, it makes it easier for you. The way you feel off the pitch is the way you feel inside. I struggled there in the end, so the best thing was to move. I was a man; I stood up, we found a solution and I moved.”
A last minute thigh injury kept Ibra from playing in Camp Nou last September, and he’s determined to play well on Wednesday while keeping things in perspective. “I was looking forward to that match,” he said. “I was training very hard but I got an injury the day before. I was disappointed, but for me playing against a former team is nothing personal. Of course it’s emotional, a big game, but in the end it’s like any other game. There’s no need to over-hype it.”
Milan is two points shy from Barcelona who currently sits at the top spot, mainly due to the 1-1 stalemate with BATE Borisov last time around. According to Ibra, there are also benefits for those who sit second and Milan will probably see how the game goes first, before deciding to go for a win. “I think this game is more about prestige,” said Ibrahimović. “It’s good to come first, but sometimes it’s good to come second; both can be positive or negative. When you’re in the Champions League, you’re bound to meet a strong team, and to win the competition you will have to beat the strong teams.”
Ibrahimovic was also very humble when asked about the elusive Champions League trophy. Two years ago, Inter Milan won the competition after he left and the same thing happened last year with Barcelona. After scoring in all of his three matches in Group H with Milan, he didn’t want to get carried away and remarked, “Now I just aim for all the trophies I can win. If I can win it, fine. Otherwise, nothing will bring my career down. All I ever tried to do was become a complete player and now I’m quite satisfied. And when you win trophies, it’s not because you’re the number one – it’s because your team is.” Maybe he learned a thing or two from the philosopher after all.
Image: Reuters Pictures