Rome – Reuters
Sweden’s Sladon Ibrahimovic said he was close to joining Napoli before returning to Milan in 2019 because he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Argentine legend Diego Maradona by winning the Serie A title with the team.
The 40-year-old Swedish striker moved to Milan for the second time in December 2019 with him after leaving the LA Galaxy.
But since Maradona inspired the team to the title in 1987 and 1990, Ibrahimovic initially considered the idea of taking Napoli to the first league title.
“After watching a documentary about him, I decided to join Napoli and repeat what Diego did by winning the league,” he told the Courier della Serra newspaper on Wednesday.
He added: “I was tired of playing in the US and thought about retiring, but (and my agent) Mino (Riola) said, ‘You’re crazy, you have to go back to Italy,’ and he continued, ‘Everything was fine but ( Napoli owner Aurelio) de Laurentis was sacked. (Coach Carlo) Ancelotti, I asked Mino, ‘Which team is facing the worst situation to change their situation?’ He replied: ‘Yesterday Milan lost 5-0 to Atlanta’ So I did my own.
He pointed out that his magnificent air kick against England in 2012 was his happy goal because “the English have always underestimated me.”
He also explained the reason for his clash with former Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku during the Milan summit last January.
Two former Manchester United players stumbled and were fined for non-playing behavior after exchanging insults.
Ibrahimovic described Lukaku as having “great arrogance” and was the initiator of the humiliation, and continued: “I attacked him in a weak spot, he lost control. I hope to meet him soon, there are things to be resolved. I do not hate anyone, I leave Lukaku alone.”
“Explorer. Problem solver. Certified reader. Incurable web expert. Subtly charming travel guru. General student. Twitter evangelist.”