Ibracadabra grew up in a Swedish immigrant neighborhood. He was a street kid, a bad boy. ‘You can get the kid out of the ghetto’, Ibrahímovic says in the biography I am Zlatan. ‘But you can never get the ghetto out of the kid.’ In the same biography, he tells that his Croatian mother gave him a knock and that he had to buy a new one himself after the thing was smashed on himself and his many (half) sisters and brothers.
Little Zlatan stole bicycles with bolt cutters. For the kick. He had a big nose, gave headbutts left and right when people spoke to him about it and played football in the street. He slithered and received speech therapy to learn how to pronounce the “s” properly.
Little Zlatan stole bicycles with bolt cutters
At Barcelona, Zlatan clashed with his coach Pep Gardiola who demanded that he behaved properly. Instead of Ferrari’s or Porsches, the car mad Zlatan had to come to training in a car from the club. He protested when, at Messi’s request, Guadiola positioned him alone and central in the attack in a 4-5-1 formation. In vain. He had sleepless nights because Guardiola did not speak to him or look at him put him for weeks.
José Mourinho, on the other hand, pampered him. At their first meeting, the Portuguese whispered in the ear of his girlfriend Helena that she was on a mission: to feed Zlatan, put Zlatan to sleep and keep Zlatan happy.
At Inter Milan, Zlatan played computer games until four or five in the morning, which meant he had to go to practice after only a few hours of sleep.