|Image Credit – sportbible|
While Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time at Barcelona was brief and uneventful, Lionel Messi was so concerned about losing his starting place that he texted Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola signed Ibrahimovic from Inter after winning the Treble in 2008/09, while Samuel Eto’o went in the opposite direction, but the Swede only stayed in Spain for one season before joining AC Milan.
Despite the fact that he didn’t stay long, Messi was concerned that his place for Barca was in jeopardy. The arrival of Ibra forced Messi to contact manager Guardiola, according to Sebastian Fest and Alex Juillard’s book ‘The Messi Mystery,’ which was published by Target.
According to the book the message said, in not exact words,“I can see that I am no longer important to the team, so…,”and was sent on the team bus as he found it hard to express his feelings in person to Pep.
|Zlatan’s time at Barcelona started well but soured quickly. Image: PA Images|
Although he was already developing into one of the best on the planet, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner wasn’t quite the world beater he would become at the time, and had already put in two poor performances prior to Ibrahimovic’s arrival.
“Messi had failed to shine in a few games and Ibrahimovic was playing well. Suddenly, there were complications for the Argentine,” the book continues.
Ibrahimovic’s tenure as the team’s main man was brief, and the older man soon found himself second fiddle to the Argentinian.
Messi was transferred from wide to play in the centre, forcing ‘Ibra’ to play out wide, where he scored 47 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions.
Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, scored 21 goals in 45 games for the Catalan giants before returning to Milan on loan, then moving to France, England, and the United States before returning to AC Milan.
|Guardiola and Messi had a special relationship. Image: PA Images|
Speaking about Pep in his own book years later Ibrahimovic wrote,“When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari. If you drive a Ferrari, you put premium petrol in the tank, you hit the motorway and you step on the gas. Guardiola filled up with diesel and took a spin in the countryside. He should have bought a Fiat,”adding,“As a coach, he was fantastic. As a person, I’ve no comments about that, that’s something else. He’s not a man, there’s nothing more to say.”
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