Barcelona news

Ibra threatened to beat Pep up

November 4, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed he would beat up coach Pep Guardiola if he did not get a move to AC Milan, according to the Spanish club's corporate vice-president Carles Vilarrubi.

Pep Guardiola and Zlatan Ibrahimovic never saw eye to eye at Barcelona
GettyImagesPep Guardiola and Zlatan Ibrahimovic never saw eye to eye at Barcelona

Ibrahimovic, who has a black belt in tae-kwon-do, had an unhappy year at the Nou Camp after joining from Inter Milan in a swap deal with Samuel Eto'o and, in his recent autobiography, has claimed that he was 'bullied' by Guardiola.

The tension was so great that Vilarrubi claims he threatened physical violence upon his manager as he tried to engineer a move away from the club on loan.

"He threatened to beat Guardiola in public," Vilarrubi told radio station RAC1, "He said 'if you do not let me go I will paste him in front of the press'".

Ibrahimovic's book, 'I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic', has caused a storm with his controversial comments about his former team-mates and employers. And the Swede also took aim at World Player of the Year Lionel Messi for forcing him out of his favoured position.

''It was a childhood dream and I was walking on air,'' wrote Ibrahimovic. ''It started well but then Messi started to talk. He wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, so the system changed from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1. I was sacrificed and no longer had the freedom on the pitch I need to succeed.

''So 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?" I like guys who run red lights, not pedantic and strict rules. So I tried to be overly nice, didn't dare lose my temper.

''But after this I stopped trying to adapt. For example, 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.''

Ibrahimovic also revealed the moment when he lost his temper with Guardiola, after a game with Villarreal in 2010.

''(Pep) 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 s****ing yourself because of (then Inter manager Jose Mourinho, whose side beat Barca in the Champions League). 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.''