ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC has revealed that “bulls***” talk of him not being good enough for England spurred him on to join Manchester United.
The big Swede has admitted the reasons behind joining Old Trafford were to prove people wrong — but reserved special praise for the United fans.
Ibrahimovic, now 37, scored 29 goals in two seasons at United, but his second was blighted by a career-threatening knee injury.
He told ManUtd.com: “My challenge was, at the age I was, coming to England, where I had years of everybody was saying I wasn’t good enough and all this bulls**t.
“I like those things because they trigger me. They give me adrenaline. After three months, all of them were eating their own words. I needed new haters because all the old ones became my new fans!
“We had a friendly game against Galatasaray, in Sweden.
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“Ok, you’re in my country now.
“I get to play my first game with United, and after three minutes I get to score.
“Even if it is just a friendly, you have to do that. You have to fit in as soon as possible. When you come to a big club like that, “I don’t know how long they can afford to be patient for you to settle in.
“You need to settle in as fast as possible. So that’s what I tried to do. I worked, tried to do my thing, still adapt to the team, adapt to the coach’s philosophy and to the club, and I had no issues with those things because I’m professional.
“I like to work, I take instructions, at the same time I like to do my things that I think – I know – I’m good at, and I try to help the team in the best way.
“Still, everybody was talking, thinking they knew everything.”
Zlatan’s MLS season starts in 11 days’ time as LA Galaxy take on Chicago Fire.
And he bagged 22 goals during his first season in California, after leaving United mid-way through last season.
But the former AC Milan, Inter, Barcelona and PSG star thought the Manchester United fans were part of what made his experience so brilliant.
Ibrahimovic added: “Oh, the United fans, by the way… they are amazing. I’m not just saying that because I played for United. I know now because I’ve been on their side and I know the feeling they give you.
“I don’t need to lick a**, but the fans were just amazing. I remember my first game in the Premier League at Bournemouth, I scored and the fans were singing my song for 45 minutes.
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“After 20 minutes I was like: guys, please, my game is not really on top right now. Wait until I’m on top, wait and see!
Inside, I was like: f***, this is fantastic!
“They really appreciated what I did and they were thankful. That is the best credit a player can get because when you do something and you get that response from the fans, it’s amazing.
“They are 50 per cent of everything we do. Imagine if you played in empty stadiums… you would not play.
“In Old Trafford it was always full. Always. In every away game they always showed up, always supported.
“When you get that support, it makes you give more back to them. We owed that to them.
“That is what triggered me, the whole season, not only winning the trophies, although of course you want to win the trophies.”
This post written by Alex Terrell originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.