Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola delivered one of his most sarcastic press conference moments yet when a journalist brought up Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s recent comments about Erling Haaland.
Earlier this week, in an interview with French publication Canal Plus, the enigmatic Ibrahimovic was full of praise for Haaland, who completed a £51m move from Borussia Dortmund to City this summer.
“I like him a lot, he is a very intelligent player, he doesn’t do things that are not within his reach. He does not go down to play the ball, he waits in front of the goal and scores,” Ibrahimovic said.
“He reminds me of former players like (Filippo) Inzaghi, (David) Trezeguet and (Christian) Vieri. In fact, it’s a new version of all three.”
Zlatan, however, aimed a not-so-subtle dig at Pep Guardiola – a coach he worked under at Barcelona.
“Is Guardiola able to improve him? That depends on the ego that Guardiola has,” the Swede said. “If he allows himself to be bigger than Haaland or not. He didn’t allow me or the others to be as big.”
It’s a relationship that continues to make headlines, and the Manchester City boss hit back at Zlatan’s comments during his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash against Fulham.
Image credit: AlamyAfter a journalist asked for his reaction to Ibrahimovic’s recent remarks, Guardiola delivered a typically sarcastic reply.
“He is right, he is completely right,” said the Spaniard. “In this club, in this team, my ego is beyond every other person, every player. I don’t like it when Erling scores three goals and all the highlights are for him. I’m so jealous! Honestly, I’m so jealous!
“I said ‘Erling, please no more goals, otherwise the newspapers won’t talk about me, and just about me. He’s right, he [Ibrahimovic] knows me perfectly. Maybe he can write another book.”
You can see that hilarious moment below. Never change, Pep.
Ibrahimovic has never been one to hold back when it comes to talking about Pep. Back in 2017, the Swede told Sky Italia: “He wasn’t the worst coach I’d worked under, but he was certainly the most immature because a man solves his problems.
“I told Guardiola that he’d sacrificed the other players for Messi. He told me he understood me.
“After that, he put me on the bench for the next game, the one after that and the one after that.
“And I thought, ‘he’s solved the problem very well I see!’ After that, he didn’t talk to me or even look at me.
“I’d walk into a room and he’d walk out. I’d go to meet him and he’d go somewhere else. I understood that there was something beyond football.”
The 41-year-old went on to claim he’d read similar stories about former Bayern forward Mario Mandzukic and ex-Barcelona man Samuel Eto’o.
“But the problem was his, it was he who hadn’t solved the problem with me. I remember on my first day, he told me that the Barcelona players didn’t turn up to training in Ferraris or Porsches.
“He’d already judged me then, but if you don’t know a person then you can’t judge them. I had my experience with him, I don’t know about others.
“But I read the same thing had happened to (Mario) Mandzukic and (Samuel) Eto’o.”