Ibrahimovic: I said no to Arsenal

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AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed he once turned down the opportunity to sign for Arsenal because Arsene Wenger wanted him to undertake a trial.

The 30-year-old Swedish international star was a teenager when he met up with the Gunners boss way back in 2000 to discuss a possible move to north London.

"Arsene gave me the famous red and white jersey — the No.9 shirt with Ibrahimovic on it," he told The Sun. "I was so pleased I even posed for a picture wearing it.

"It was a fantastic moment for me. Arsenal had a great team then and here was an Arsenal shirt made just for me. So then I waited for him to convince me that I should join Arsenal - but he didn't even try.

"He never actually made me a serious offer, it was more 'I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial'.

"I couldn't believe it. I was like 'No way, Zlatan doesn't do auditions'."

Ibrahimovic opted not to take a trial, choosing instead to move to Holland with Ajax - a decision that set him on the way to becoming one of the most successful footballers on the planet.

With eight league crowns in eight consecutive seasons with Ajax, Inter, Barcelona and Milan beginning way back in 2004 - the same year Arsenal last won the Premier League title - the striker insists he has no regrets about the decision, and has the trophies to boot.

"I'm sure that some other young players might have agreed to try out because this was the famous Arsenal team and this was Arsene Wenger," he added. "I am a big admirer. He buys good quality players and makes them even better. He takes new, young players and makes them stars.

"But I knew it wasn't just Arsenal who wanted me — Roma wanted me and Ajax wanted me. So I said 'No' and, in the end, I signed for Ajax instead. It was the perfect choice.

"Maybe at Arsenal, maybe at Roma I would not have got straight into the team. At Ajax I did and so I was suddenly playing for a top club, winning titles and playing in the Champions League, too."

Ibrahimovich was on the scoresheet as Milan thrashed Arsenal 4-0 in their Champions League last-16 first leg clash at the San Siro, and will be hoping to confirm the Serie A giants' place in the quarter-finals at the expense of the Gunners.

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