I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic ghost-writer David Lagercrantz speaks to GiveMeSport ahead of the book’s paperback launch in the USA…
Jose Mourinho ‘loved’ his time working with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the Chelsea manager one of the few able to completely understand and appreciate the famously egotistical striker. The feeling was certainly mutual during their time spent together at Inter, with Ibrahimovic almost prepared to kill for Mourinho while under his esteemed command.
Mourinho arrived at the San Siro in 2008, appointed as the successor to Roberto Mancini, with Inter having won the Serie A title the previous season. During that campaign, Ibrahimovic scored 22 times in all competitions and earned his first Serie A Footballer of the Year award.
It would, then, have appeared that little more could have been done to improve a player already among Europe’s elite, but Mourinho and Ibrahimovic clicked immediately, and the player was able to flourish even further with the Portuguese at the helm.
Ibrahimovic scored a then career high 25 league goals under the tutelage of Mourinho, once again inspiring Inter to the title and earning a second successive player of the year award. But, when the opportunity arrived to join Barcelona that summer, the opportunity proved too good to resist. And it was a decision Ibrahimovic was made to regret.
“He said to me many times that he loved [his time with Mourinho] - he’d nearly kill for the man. There was something about Mourinho,” Lagercrantz told GiveMeSport.
“Mourinho saw him and understood him. [Mourinho] loved him - loved his style and his ego and everything. And then [Zlatan] came up against an absolute opposite in Guardiola at Barcelona; a man who is very philosophical and analytical, but certainly without charisma. I think it was a bit of a shock to go from Mourinho to Guardiola.”