Zlatan Ibrahimovic has become synonymous with a relentless and powerful brand of football. The Swede suffered a major setback to his Manchester United career last April when a freak knee injury cut his brilliant debut season short.
However, the European wizard shocked one and all with the sheer speed of his recovery, and even though his return to Old Trafford wasn’t the most ideal, his time at LA Galaxy since has spoken wonders as to the sheer resilience of the 36-year-old.
However, turns out it wasn’t all plain and dandy in Manchester after all, and there was a moment during the second season of his United career where the striker himself asked to be not selected despite being fit.
Speaking to the BBC, Zlatan reveals: “When I was ready, I said to myself ‘I am not there. They had a Zlatan before. After, I was not ready to be that Zlatan’.”
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He goes on to make a startling revelation: “I was selected in many of the games but I told the coach: ‘Listen, I am not ready. I don’t want to disappoint you. The respect I have for my teammates and the coach. Select someone else who can do the job better.’ I stood up and did it, even if I am Zlatan.”
A brilliant gesture from a worthy sportsman. This obsession with perfection and giving one’s all to the game is a trait that the former PSG, Barcelona, Ajax, and AC Milan player has embodied quite firmly.
All in all, such dedication to the game and an eye on delivering nothing but the best may be dwindling in the present era, where players play despite knowing they may not give their best game.
He went on to outline the same regarding his decision to sign a new contract at United after his initial one had run out: “The situation was not about having a contract and earning money. It was all the opposite. I said ‘I don’t want a salary, you keep it.’”