When Zlatan Ibrahimović met Leclerc and Carlos Sainz: interview about his childhood, his idols and the Champions League | UEFA champions league

“My passion for cars is no secret,” Zlatan Ibrahimović told UEFA.com as he lapped the track at Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters with Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. “I don’t have cars because I have to prove to everyone that I have cars.” Sainz, by the way, is also a football fan and told Zlatan: “The Champions League: I try to watch all the matches.”

Ibrahimović, the all-time leading international goalscorer, has won domestic titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France, and was a member of the Manchester United team that won the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League. Here, the 40-year-old reflects on how his childhood in the Rosengård neighborhood of Malmö set him on the path to success, and how he feels he still has plenty of gas left over from his playing career. .

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About his childhood in Rosengård

“I grew up in Malmö, in a small area called Rosengård. I was living there until I was 17 years old. I was a very active boy when I was young. People called it ‘ghetto’, but for me it was paradise because I had everything I wanted. I had friends, I had fun and I was happy. We had the ability to play football and football makes people happy. Football was cheap, practically free. You just had to get some boots, but even without shoes you could play. A From there, everything got better.

When I got my first contract [con el Malmö FF]I started making money doing what I liked. The money didn’t make me happy, but everything became easier after that. So I went from walking long distances to train or stealing bikes, which is not cool but we all do stupid things, to being able to get my driver’s license and being able to have a car.”

Zlatan technical sheet

Born: October 3, 1981, Malmö, Sweden
Height: 1.95m
Caps/goals: 120/62
UEFA club competition appearances/goals: 150/57
UEFA Champions League appearances/goals: 124/48

About his behavior during his childhood

“My father made me see Muhammad Ali a lot and I like that kind of character. You speak, but you act. You speak, but you show what you are capable of. You don’t speak because you think you are someone, you speak because you have confidence in yourself.

For me, the best player in history is Ronaldo “O Fenômeno”. I have followed him since I was little and I have always admired him. He did things that everyone wanted to do; things that had not been seen before, and everyone was trying to copy it. Therefore, when we came to the garden to play with friends, we tried to do the same things as him. Later, I met him in real life and played against him (I haven’t played with him) and suddenly something unreal becomes a reality.”

Great goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović

Great goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović

On not forgetting where it comes from

“No matter what happens (success, money, fame or whatever), I will remain the same person, I will not change. You either like me or you don’t like me, but I was not born into this world to convince people that love me”.

On playing for AC Milan at the age of 40

“I play with a lot of passion every time I put on the Milan shirt because it is a club that has made me very happy, it is a team that has given me many things, and I think it is the team where he has spent the most years. It was nice to come back to the UEFA Champions League with Milan this season, after a couple of years struggling to get there and not being able to be in the Champions League, everyone was very excited and very happy to compete in it again.

I think it’s an amazing competition. I have scored a couple of goals that I liked and I have had the opportunity to play against the best teams and players in Europe. How do I feel about not having won it? In two ways. Winning it would be incredible, but not winning that title would not change me as a player. Winning it wouldn’t mean I was a better footballer, because I already think I’m the best. In addition, that is something that is proven: the best player does not always win everything.”

What titles has Zlatan won?

1 UEFA Europa League (Manchester United, 2016/17)
1 UEFA Super Cup (Barcelona, ​​2009)
1 FIFA Club World Cup (Barcelona 2009)
11 league titles (Ajax 2001/02 2003/04, Inter 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09, Barcelona 2009/10, AC Milan 2010/11, Paris 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15, 2015/16
3 domestic cups (Ajax 2001/02, Paris 2014/15 2015/16)

About the future

“The future is yet to be written. I don’t make plans, we’ll see what happens. I don’t want to regret leaving football and then think that I could continue playing, because then I would regret the rest of my life seeing what I could have followed. I want to play as long as my body allows me. The reality is that I will play until I see that someone is better than me, so for now I will continue playing.

Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrates a goal for AC Milan this season in Serie A

Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrates a goal for AC Milan this season in Serie ANurPhoto via Getty Images

I know one day it will stop and I won’t have that adrenaline anymore. This is a problem for all footballers, because you always have that feeling when you play. You will never have that adrenaline when doing something else, because we are already used to it. Every day we do the same.

We get up, get ready, train, eat and rest. The next the same day. For 20 years, you do these things and feel adrenaline for it. So when you suddenly stop doing it, you no longer have that routine and you don’t feel the same. When all that is over, you have to get used to it and start from scratch, starting something new and different in your life.”

On his advice to young players

“I think the normal thing, when you’re asked, ‘What advice would you give a child?’ is ‘believe in yourself, be happy and never give up’, all those things. It’s easy to say this, but take it to After all, that’s the hardest part. Surrounding yourself with positive people, with things that give you positive energy, helps a lot, because it creates an atmosphere that makes everything easy. When you have negative people around you, they drag you down with it. It’s like you don’t They want you to be successful, so I think my advice would be, “It’s easy and anything is possible, but it’s up to you.”