Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that he fell out with Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola after Argentinean star Lionel Messi asked to play down the middle, where the Swede was positioned, rather than out on the wing.
"It was a childhood dream and I was walking on air," Ibrahimovic wrote,"It started well but then Messi started to talk.”
"He wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, so the system changed from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1. I was sacrificed and no longer had the freedom on the pitch I need to succeed.
"So I asked for a meeting with Guardiola - for a discussion, not an argument. I said I was being used in the wrong way and that they shouldn’t have bought me if they wanted another type of player.
"I told him what a friend had said to me - 'you bought a Ferrari but drive it like a Fiat'. The chat seemed to go well but then Guardiola started to freeze me out.”
"I would walk into a room; he would leave. He would greet everyone by saying hello, but would ignore me.”
Ibrahimovic also noted that other Barcelona players followed Guardiola’s orders without question.
"I had done a lot to adapt,” he said, “the Barca players were like schoolboys, following the coach blindly, whereas I was used to asking 'why?' I like guys who run red lights, not pedantic and strict rules. So I tried to be overly nice, didn’t dare lose my temper.”
"But after this I stopped trying to adapt. For example, at Barca players were banned from driving their sports cars to training. I thought this was ridiculous - it was no one’s business what car I drive - so in April, before a match with Almeria, I drove my Ferrari Enzo to work. It caused a scene."
Ibrahimovic soon found himself out of the team, but worse was to come, with a row erupting during a 4-1 La Liga win over Villarreal, with the big Swede angry at only playing five minutes.
"(Pep) was staring at me and I lost it. I thought ‘there is my enemy, scratching his bald head’. I yelled to him: ‘You have no balls!’ And probably worse things than that.
"I added: 'You are s****ing yourself because of (then-Internazionale manager Jose Mourinho, whose side beat Barca in the Champions League). You can go to hell!’ I was completely mad.
"I threw a box full of training gear across the room, it crashed to the floor and Pep said nothing, just put stuff back in the box.
"I’m not violent, but if I were Guardiola I would have been frightened."
Ibrahimovic had originally intended to stay with Barcelona, even after the arrival of David Villa, but decided enough was enough when Guardiola remained unresponsive to him.