Autobilography of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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  • Published : November 23, 2012
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"I AM ZLATAN"
By Zlatan Ibrahimovic as told to David Lagercrantz
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This book is dedicated to my family and friends, to those who have stood by my side, on good days and bad.
I also want to dedicate it to all the kids out there, those who feel different and don't fit in. Those who are seen for the wrong reasons. It's OK to be different. Continue being yourself. It worked out for me.

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CHAPTER 1

Pep Guardiola, the coach in Barcelona, with his grey suits and troubled face, came up to me looking concerned.
I thought he was all right at that time, certainly not a Mourinho or Capello, but an ok guy. This was way before we started our war. It was the fall of 2009 and I was living my childhood dream. I was playing in the best team in the world and had been welcomed by 70 000 people at the Camp Nou. I was walking on clouds. Well maybe not entirely, there were some bullshit in the papers. I was the bad boy and all that. I was difficult dealing with. But still, I was here. Helena and the kids were also good. We had a nice house in Esplugues de Llobregat and I felt fully charged. What could go wrong? "Hey you", Guardiola said. "Here in Barca we keep our feet down on the ground." "Sure", I said. "Fine."

"Here we don't drive any Ferraris or Porsches to training."
I nodded, didn't go cocky on him, like how the fuck is what car I'm driving your concern? But I thought "What does he want? What message is he giving me? Believe me, I don't need any fancy cars or parking on the sidewalk to show off anymore. That wasn't it. I love my cars. They're a passion of mine, but I sensed something else behind his words. Kind of: don't think you're so special. I had already at that point understood that Barca is like a school. The players were all nice, nothing wrong with them, and there was Maxwell, my old friend from Ajax and Inter. But honestly, none of the guys acted like superstars, and I thought that was odd. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, the whole gang, was like school kids. The world's best players stood there nodding, and I couldn't understand that. It was ridiculous. If a coach in Italy says "jump", the players ask "what? Why should we jump?" Here, everyone jumped at any command. I didn't fit in, not at all. But I was thinking: Accept the situation. Don't confirm their thoughts about you. So I started adapting. I became too kind. It was insane. Mino Raiola, my agent, my friend, said:

"What's wrong with you Zlatan? I don't recognize you."
No one recognized me, not my buddies, no one. I became boring, bland, and you should know that ever since Malmö FF I've had one philosophy: I run my own race. I don't give a damn what people think and I've never felt comfortable with authority. I like guys who run the red light, if you know what I mean. But now… I didn't say what I wanted. I said what I thought people expected of me. It was wack. I drove the club's Audi and stood there nodding like back in school, or like I should have stood nodding back in school. I didn't give my team mates any crap. I was boring. Zlatan wasn't Zlatan, and that hadn't happen since back in school when I saw chicks in Ralph Lauren shirts for the first time and almost shit my pants when I was asking them out. But still, I started the season great. I scored goal after goal after goal. We won the UEFA Super Cup. I was shining. I dominated. But I was somebody else. Something had

happened, nothing serious, not yet. I had been silenced, and that's dangerous, believe me. I have to be mad to play well. I have to shout and make scenes. Now I kept all that within me. Maybe it had to do with all pressure. I don't know.

I was the second most expensive transfer in history, and the papers kept saying I was a problem child and had issues with my personality, all kinds of bullshit, and unfortunately I felt the weight of it all - in...
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