Ibrahimovic hails signing of ‘magician’ Robinho
Zlatan Ibrahimovic hailed AC Milan’s last-minute signing of Robinho from Manchester City, saying the Brazil winger would add a touch of magic to the Italian team.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Stockholm, the Swedish striker also blamed coach Pep Guardiola for his own early exit from Barcelona.
"I think the signing of Robinho is a fantastic signing because he’s one of the great players in the world," Ibrahimovic said. "I think he’s a fantastic player, he can give a lot to the team. He’s like a magician."
Robinho reportedly cost Milan 15 million euros ($19 million), and his arrival on Tuesday came just four days after Ibrahimovic’s acrimonious departure from Barcelona.
The striker, who left the Spanish champions after only one season, criticized Guardiola, who he said had yet to give him a reason for freezing him out of the team.
"My first six months (at Barcelona) was fantastic. I played my game, everybody was happy and then somewhere in March, something happened. I don’t know what," Ibrahimovic said. "I’m still looking for the answer but he (Guardiola) doesn’t want to give it to me."
Ibrahimovic said he places the blame for his exit squarely on Guardiola, who has publicly criticized the Swede.
"You shouldn’t blame the club and the other players I had in Barcelona for what one person did, because the problem was one person – not the club and not the players," Ibrahimovic said. "The bad picture shouldn’t be on the club and the players – the bad picture should be on the philosopher."
Ibrahimovic made his return to the national team in the recent friendly win against Scotland after 10 months of self-imposed exile after Sweden failed to qualify for the World Cup.
"We are more than glad that he’s back and not only that, we’re glad that he’s back and he looks really motivated and that’s the key thing for us," said Marcus Allback, Sweden’s assistant manager.
Allback refused to be drawn on Ibrahimovic’s fallout with Guardiola, but said that the striker’s attitude both in and out of training had been exemplary.
"We have a lot of young players in the squad, and for them to see this big star acting like he does, it’s of big importance for us," Allback said.
Sweden gets its qualifying campaign under way against Hungary on Friday and San Marino on Tuesday.
Striker Ola Toivonen said that the return of Sweden’s most famous player had given the team a boost.
"We get confidence with Zlatan. I think the opponent also concentrates more on Zlatan than the other players," Toivonen said.
Toivonen, who was linked with a move from his club PSV Eindhoven to Liverpool before the transfer window closed, said he was flattered by the English team’s interest.
"But PSV did the job for me, saying no they don’t want to sell me," said Toivonen, before adding that "of course" he would be interested if the opportunity to move to Liverpool was to present itself.
"Liverpool is a big club, especially in Scandinavia where there’s a lot of fans," Toivonen said.