by Michael Pearson

Zlatan Ibrahimovic. You either love him or loathe him.

I absolutely adore him.  He has been my favourite footballer for years.

Today the Swede has hit the English papers and said : “(he) would like to see Steven in a big international club,”

Here are his most memorable musings;

***From Press Interviews***

“We are looking for an apartment (in Paris). If we don’t find anything, then I’ll probably just buy the hotel.”

Which other sportsman would he compare himself to ? – “I’m like Muhammed Ali. When he said he would knock someone out in the fourth round, he did it.”

Tiredness got the better of him in 2010. It was only November! – “I have played many games this season and now I feel tired, almost worn out. Seeing that at Milan there are two injured strikers, the situation is not very easy for me. I have to thank the Sweden coach who allowed me to rest a little bit this week.”

On reports of ‘excessive behaviour’ following Juventus’ 2005 title win – “It was the fault of David Trezeguet, who made me do one drink of vodka after another. I slept in the bathtub. Now I hold my vodka much better.”

On being marked by then Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz.- “First I went left, he did too. Then I went right, and he did too. Then I went left again, and he went to buy a hot dog.”

When asked what his ‘style’ of football was – “Zlatan-style.”

When asked what he got his wife for her birthday – “”Nothing, she already has Zlatan.”

When asked “Who is the best looking woman in the world?” – “I don’t know, but when I find her I will date her.”

In response to Arsene Wenger asking him to attend a trial for Arsenal – “Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.”

A female reporter joked that Zlatan was gay due to a photo of him hugging Pique.

He replied – “Come to my house and you’ll see if I’m gay. And bring your sister.”

***From his autobiography ‘I am Zlatan’ ***

 “I got a bike when I was little, a BMX. I called it ‘Fido Dido’ after the tough little cartoon guy with spiked hair. I thought he was the coolest thing ever.

“The bike got stolen outside of the Rosengård swimming baths and Dad went there with his shirt open and sleeves rolled up. He’s the kind of person that says: ‘No one touches my kids! No one takes their stuff’. But not even a tough guy like him could do anything about it. Fido Dido was gone, and I was crushed.”

“I felt like crap when I was sitting in the locker room with Guardiola staring at me like I was an annoying distraction, an outsider. It was nuts. He was a wall, a stone wall. I didn’t get any sign of life from him and I was wishing myself away every moment.”

“Then Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced bullshit about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff.”

“Mourinho is Guardiola’s opposite. If Mourinho brightens up the room, Guardiola pulls down the curtains and I guessed that Guardiola now tried to measure himself with him.”

“An injured Zlatan is a pretty serious thing for any team.”

“I asked for a meeting with Guardiola – for a discussion, not an argument. I said I was being used in the wrong way and that they shouldn’t have bought me if they wanted another type of player.“I told him what a friend had said to me – ‘you bought a Ferrari but drive it like a Fiat’. The chat seemed to go well but then Guardiola started to freeze me out.”

I would walk into a room; he would leave. He would greet everyone by saying “hello”, but would ignore me. I had done a lot to adapt – the Barca players were like schoolboys, following the coach blindly, whereas I was used to asking ‘why should we?”

“At Barca, players were banned from driving their sports cars to training. I thought this was ridiculous – it was no one’s business what car I drive – so in April, before a match with Almeria, I drove my Ferrari Enzo to work. It caused a scene.”

 “(Guardiola) was staring at me and I lost it. I thought ‘there is my enemy, scratching his bald head!’. I yelled to him: ‘You have no balls!’ and probably worse things than that.

“I added: ‘You are shitting yourself because of Jose Mourinho. You can go to hell!’. I was completely mad. I threw a box full of training gear across the room, it crashed to the floor and Pep said nothing, just put stuff back in the box. I’m not violent, but if I were Guardiola I would have been frightened.”

“Jose Mourinho is a big star…He’s cool. The first time he met [my wife] he whispered to her: ‘Helena, you have only one mission. Feed Zlatan, let him sleep, keep him happy!’ The guy says what he wants. I like him.”