25 of the best Zlatan Ibrahimovic quotes

Sunday was a good day for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Not only did the mercurial Swede drag Manchester United to League Cup glory with two goals in the 3-2 win over Southampton; he also broke new ground in his post-match interview. 

It was one of the game's great untouched landmarks: for decades, the record for 'number of times a footballer can say the word "lion" inside 60 seconds' had stood at five. But then along came Zlatan.

“I’m an animal. I feel like a lion," he began, before really hitting his stride: "I don’t want to be a lion, I am a lion."

Care to elaborate on that, big man? "The lion is born a lion – it means I’m a lion." Fair enough, and congratulations. Expect a call from Guinness in the days ahead.

Of course, this wasn't Ibrahimovic's first wordplay rodeo. This is a player who has spent much of his career carefully cultivating his own legend, offering snappy aphorisms to reporters and cutting loose in his incendiary autobiography, I Am Zlatan. 

Much of it is pure bluster and one could reasonably refuse to fully buy into the whole thing given that ghostwriter David Lagercrantz has admitted to using a certain amount of artistic licence in the aforementioned book. But in a media landscape defined by bland truisms and well-worn cliché, a little showmanship – no matter how carefully managed – still goes a long way...


1. On getting injured at Barcelona

"An injured Zlatan is a properly serious thing for any team."


2. On Sweden getting knocked out of Euro 2012

"I don't give a s*** who wins. I'm going on holiday."


3. On finding a place to live in Paris

"We are looking for an apartment. If we do not find anything, then we will just buy a hotel."


4. On being a deity

Ibrahimovic: "Only God knows who will go through."

Reporter: "It's hard to ask him."

Ibrahimovic: "You're talking to him."


5. On being criticised by John Carew

"What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange."


6. On being asked to have a trial at Arsenal

"Zlatan doesn't do auditions."


7. On scoring spectacular goals

"I don't think that you can score as spectacular a goal as those of Zlatan in a video game – even though these games are very realistic these days."


8. On Sweden failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup

"A World Cup without me is nothing to watch."


9. On bewitching Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz

"First I went left, he did too. Then I went right, and he did too. Then I went left again, and he went to buy a hot dog."


10. On David Beckham's music preferences

"We were looking through his playlist in the dressing room – there was lots of Justin Bieber, Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez. It is nice to know that even David Beckham doesn't have good taste in everything."


11. On Pep Guardiola's methods

"Then Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced bullshit about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff."


12. On his career trajectory

"I think I'm like wine. The older I get, the better I get." 


13. On what he buys his wife for her birthday

"Nothing, she already has Zlatan."


14. On his feud with Rafael van der Vaart

"I didn’t injure you on purpose, and you know that. If you accuse me again I’ll break both your legs, and that time it will be on purpose."


15. On rumours he was going to buy a Porsche

"Absolutely not. I have ordered a plane. It is much faster."


16. On Jose Mourinho

"Jose Mourinho is a big star... he's cool. The first time he met [my wife], he whispered to her: 'Helena you have only one mission. Feed Zlatan, let him sleep, keep him happy.' The guy says what he wants. I like him."


17. On his battle scars

Reporter: "You’ve got some scars on your face, Zlatan. What happened?"

Ibrahimovic: "Well, I don’t know... you’ll have to ask your wife about that."


18. On Mario Balotelli's antics

"I like fireworks too, but I set them off in gardens or kebab stands. I never set fire to my own house."


19. On moving to Ligue 1

"It's true I don't know much about the players here, but they definitely know who I am."


20. On his struggles at Barcelona

"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."


21. On self-satisfaction

"I can't help but laugh at how perfect I am."


22. On beating Denmark in a Euro 2016 play-off

"There was the thought that this would send me into retirement. I sent their entire country into retirement."


23. On suitable monuments to his brilliance

"I don't believe they can change the Eiffel Tower for my statue, even the people behind the club. But if they can, I will stay here, I promise you."


24. On not fitting in at Barcelona

"I'd already got the impression that Barcelona was... like being back at school. None of the lads acted like superstars, which was strange. The whole gang – they were like schoolboys."


25. On his way of playing

"Swedish style? No. Yugoslavian style? Of course not. It has to be Zlatan style."