In an exclusive interview with respected publication Four Four Two, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has stated that the standard of football in the Premier League is exaggerated.
Before signing for Manchester United in 2016, Ibrahimovic was already a footballing icon after winning league titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France. Next on his agenda was to conquer England.
The Premier League title escaped Ibrahimovic, though he was a huge figure on and off the pitch for the Reds, who won the League Cup and Europa League during his spell at the club.
Had the Swede not suffered a knee ligament injury in April prior to the Europa League final, he’d have made a greater impact on the pitch. There is no doubt over that.
Romelu Lukaku was signed the following season to take over from an aging Ibrahimovic, though manager Jose Mourinho still had two incredible strikers to select from… That is a huge advantage in the dying moments of certain games and we don’t have that anymore.
Instead, United are relying on Anthony Martial from a wider position to provide the goods while Lukaku struggles with confidence and a lack of goalscoring.
Speaking in the December 2018 issue of Four Four Two magazine, released on Wednesday, Ibrahimovic reveals how he wanted to prove doubters wrong and show he was capable of making an impact in the English top-flight.
“I’d had a long career before I came – different kinds of countries, different kinds of clubs,” he told Four Four Two.
“People said, ‘You don’t need to go to England, because if you fail in England, people will always say you weren’t good enough’. Everybody was against it. And guess what? That made me motivated. That gave me adrenaline.
“I liked the Premier League. I found it very motivating and very exciting. It gets a lot of attention, although I feel the quality is a little bit overrated – the individual quality, the technical part. But the rhythm is high. Even if you are the best, if you can’t handle the rhythm, the pace, then you will not succeed, because the pace is very high.”
Ibrahimovic adds that the Premier League is fortunate that he was 35-years-old by the time he finally played in it, and we couldn’t agree more. He would have become an absolute icon at the club had he joined earlier in his career.
“I’m super proud and super happy that I went to United – it was the right club. We won, and I did what I did before I got injured. I had an excellent time – great memories. I’m attached to United forever. The supporters are amazing: wherever I went, I saw red shirts, which was fantastic. It’s a very important moment in my career.
“As I said when I was in England, you’re lucky I didn’t come 10 years ago, because if I did what I did at 35 years old, imagine it if I was 25. Then it would have been a different story. I came there and they said I came in a wheelchair. All the people that talked, in the whole Premier League, I put them in a wheelchair. That’s what I did.”
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🇸🇪 @Ibra_official exclusive: Premier League is overrated – but if you can’t handle the pace you won’t succeed
— FourFourTwo ⚽ (@FourFourTwo) November 5, 2018