Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes racism claim

Monday, January 8, 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accused the Swedish media of racism in an extraordinary interview, claiming he is victimised because his name is "not Andersson or Svensson."

The Manchester United striker, who was raised in Sweden to Bosnian and Serb parents, made the comment to French TV station Canal Plus.

Ibrahimovic is widely regarded as Sweden's greatest-ever footballer, but he feels he does not get sufficient respect in the land of his birth.

"They still attack me. Because they cannot accept that I am Ibrahimovic," he said. 

"If another Swedish player would do same mistake I do they would defend them. But when it comes to me they do not defend me."

"This is about racism. I don't say there is racism but I say there is undercover racism. This exists, I am 100 percent sure. Because I am not Andersson or Svensson. If I would be that, trust me, they would defend me even if I would rob a bank. But they're not defending me in the way that they should."

"Probably I'm the best player through history in Sweden. What I did, nobody else has done. The Golden Ball in Sweden. The best that ever won these had two Golden Balls. How many do I have? I have 11. I have 11 Golden Balls."

When the interviewer suggested the media criticism might come from his arrogance, Ibrahimovic said "it doesn't matter. I'm the best there is."

However, he added, "it is ok because this is what makes me stronger."

Ibrahimovic moved to United from Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, the latest stop in a glittering career which has taken in spells at Ajax, Barcelona, Juventus and both Milan clubs.

The giant striker has won the domestic title in Holland, Spain, Italy and France, but has never won the Champions League.