Zlatan Ibrahimović

Why Do People Hate Zlatan Ibrahimović?

Zlatan Ibrahimović is one of the most talented, successful, and controversial footballers of his generation. The Swedish striker is known around the world for his incredible goals, brash personality, and outspoken comments. While Ibrahimović has millions of adoring fans, he also has many detractors who dislike or even hate him.

Arrogance Angers Some People

One of the main reasons why people hate Zlatan is his at times arrogant, cocky persona. Ibrahimović is not shy about praising himself and his abilities. He has compared himself favorably to lions, Ferraris, and even God.Copy code

He’s Seen as Disrespectful

In addition to his arrogance on the pitch, some hate Zlatan for his disrespectful statements off it. He has insulted both fans and legendary players at times during his controversial career.

While the striker seems to thrive on confrontation and controversies, many see his insults as tactless and egotistical.

Table of Zlatan’s Most Controversial Moments

2009Threw his shirt at the referee after a disputed goal, yelled at the referee, and received a red card.Received a 3 match ban.
2010Received a red card for punching an opponent in the stomach.Banned for 3 matches.
2011Received a 3 match ban for punching an opponent.Missed the next league match.
2013Criticized his PSG teammates for their effort after a loss.Forced to apologize to the team.
2016Called France a “shit country” after issues with taxes.Broad condemnation in French media.

His list of confrontations and criticisms has created the image of someone who lacks respect for the sport.

Perceived as Arrogant and Entitled

Another reason many fans despise the AC Milan striker is that his arrogance comes across as a sense of entitlement. Detractors believe he acts as if rules, standards, and even basic courtesy do not apply to him.

For instance, Ibrahimović once stopped his car in the middle of a Stockholm road to autograph shirts for waiting fans. He parked his high-end sports car in the bicycle lane and blocked traffic for his impromptu meet-and-greet session.

The striker also has a long history of testing the patience of his managers by breaking club rules or undermining their authority.

So while his self-assurance is a key part of his identity, many see it as a sense of entitlement rather than valid confidence.

He’s Polarizing

Zlatan Ibrahimović has managed to achieve nearly everything possible in his career – big trophies, individual honors, financial security, and global fame. However, he’s inspired extreme reactions from fans, teammates, and pundits over the years too.

Few modern players have been as unpredictably entertaining yet infuriatingly divisive as Zlatan. His highlight reel goals and candid soundbites attract as much criticism as they do praise.

While his supporters find his candor and chaos compelling, his distractors see an uncoachable decline in values. Ultimately Zlatan himself would probably be disappointed with anything less than sparking intense reactions across the spectrum.

Has Zlatan’s arrogance cost him in his career?

While Zlatan Ibrahimović’s arrogance and disruptive behavior has led to criticism and dislike from some, there is no evidence it has substantially hindered his decorated career. If anything, his supreme confidence has helped drive him to excel and achieve so highly across nearly every league he’s played in.

Ibrahimović has won a trophy nearly every season of his 20+ year career, including 13 league titles and 10 domestic cups. He’s also received countless individual awards like being named Serie A Footballer of the Year 5 times. So despite ruffling feathers wherever he’s gone with his brash persona, his success speaks for itself.

If Zlatan lacked self-belief and was afraid to challenge authority, he may never have reached his potential. While tactless at times, his willingness to speak his mind does indicate a courage and mental toughness needed to perform under pressure.

So in summary, while arrogance may have cost him some fans and supporters over the years, Zlatan’s belief in his abilities has ultimately fueled his sustained excellence throughout his long career.

What trophies and awards has Ibrahimović won in his career?

For all the criticism about his ego, Zlatan Ibrahimović has demonstrated his quality by amassing trophies and awards everywhere he’s played. He has won league titles in four different countries, positioning himself as one the most decorated strikers of his generation.


  • Serie A (6 titles)
  • Eredivisie (2)
  • La Liga (2)
  • Ligue 1 (4)
  • Supercoppa Italiana (2)
  • UEFA Super Cup (1)

Individual Awards

  • Serie A Footballer of the Year (5)
  • Serie A Top Goalscorer (2)
  • Ligue 1 Top Goalscorer (3)
  • Ligue 1 Player of the Year (3)
  • Eredivisie Top Goalscorer (2)
  • Swedish Male Athlete of the Year (4)
  • UEFA Team of the Year (2)

The list above demonstrates Ibrahimović’s sustained greatness across every major club and league he’s played for. While fiery and full of himself, he has consistently backed up his talk with exceptional performances on the pitch.

What managers and teammates has Ibrahimović feuded with?

While supremely talented, Zlatan has clashed with managers, team personnel, and even teammates at nearly every stop in his journeyman career. His unwillingness to back down from anyone is reflected in the range of feuds and conflicts he’s sparred in.

Some of Zlatan’s notable spats have included:


  • Pep Guardiola: Famous falling out at Barcelona which led to Zlatan being sold after 1 season. Continues to criticize and mock Guardiola years later.
  • Erik Hamren: Long-time Swedish national team manager. Zlatan frequently challenged his authority and decision making.
  • Roberto Mancini: Despite success at Inter Milan, reports of player mutiny against manager and non-stop arguments.


  • Rafael van der Vaart: Zlatan deliberately tried to injure him in practice as retaliation for fouls.
  • Oguchi Onyewu: Fight started over a verbal spat in practice and ended with Ibrahimović kicking and headbutting the defender.
  • Jonathan Zebina: Punched by Zlatan in the face due to an argument about poor defending.

Club Executives

  • Ronald Koeman: Had public falling out with AZ Alkmaar manager over unpaid transfer fees.
  • Daniel Van Buyten: Ibrahimović mocked club legend Van Buyten’s teeth to the press, sparking furor from Marseille bosses.
  • Jean-Michel Aulas: Long feud with Lyon’s chairman including accusing him of going on a witchhunt against Zlatan to the media.

While Zlatan eventually outlasts most of his verbal combatants, the pattern of controversies has fueled the perception he’s difficult for authority figures to control and manage long-term.


Zlatan Ibrahimović relishes the role of a brash antihero. His otherworldly talent is matched only by an ego and arrogance that delights fans yet riles up critics. He plays and speaks his mind without fear of consequences, authority, or even political correctness.

While his confrontational style evokes extreme reactions, there is no denying his sustained excellence across every major league in Europe for nearly 20 years. In the end, the numbers and trophies speak loudest for his irreplaceable contributions on the pitch.

Off the field, Zlatan seems to thrive under chaos and controversy. And by that measure, the Swedish legend is living his best life by sparking no shortage of both with his unfiltered opinions. The god-like swagger that earns him enemies also makes Zlatan Ibrahimović one of the most compelling personalities soccer has ever witnessed.

What are some of Zlatan’s most arrogant comments about himself?

Zlatan Ibrahimović is notorious for his wild arrogance and willingness to put himself on a superhuman level compared to mortal footballers. Below are a few choice quotes where he praises himself as a football god and unique talent:

  • “Lions don’t compare themselves to humans.”
  • ​​”No we will not exchange jerseys after the game. I don’t want your dirty kit.”
  • “First I went left; he did too. Then I went right and he did too. Then I went left again and he went to buy a hot dog.”
  • “When you buy me, you buy a Ferrari. If you drive a Ferrari, you put premium fuel in the tank, you hit the motorway and you floor the accelerator.”
  • “Why compare me with Goal Machine? I am football.”
  • “One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me will not be worth watching.”
  • “Zlatan doesn’t do tryouts.”

These ridiculous statements reveal why Ibrahimović is considered arrogant by so many in football. But they also demonstrate his sharp wit and embrace of the villain role. In the end, his historic success justifies at least some of the unprecedented ego.

Has Zlatan’s arrogance ever backfired on him?

For much of his 20+ year career at the highest level, Zlatan Ibrahimović’s extreme arrogance has worked to motivate him and enhance his dominance on the pitch. However, there have been occasional times where his boastfulness and abrasiveness towards others has backfired badly.

One famous example came early in his career at Ajax Amsterdam under then-manager Ronald Koeman. Ibrahimović frequently broke club rules and disobeyed Koeman’s instructions, leading to fines and discipline. His arrogant behavior led to his abrupt sale to Juventus and very nearly derailed his future stardom.

Another damaging case of his ego backfiring occurred during his season at Barcelona. Ibrahimović clashed immediately with manager Pep Guardiola, including a nasty locker room confrontation. His unwillingness to follow tactics and fit into Guardiola’s system quickly made him expendable, leading to a loan move to AC Milan.

While Zlatan has the talent to back up his big talk, his occasional refusal to conform to team rules undermines coaches and divides locker rooms at times. And for all his individual brilliance, his uncoachable arrogance almost reduced his transcendent career to a footnote during his younger days.

What are some classic Zlatan quotes that reveal his arrogance?

Here are some of the most arrogant, funny, and brash quotes that reveal why Zlatan Ibrahimović rubs many people the wrong way:

  • “Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.” (After Arsene Wenger made him trial with Arsenal.)
  • “What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange.” (Belittling John Carew’s skills vs his own.)
  • “I can’t help but laugh at how perfect I am.” (Typically humble Zlatan.)
  • “If you have a conflict with me, you have a serious problem.” (Warning foes not to challenge him.)
  • “When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari. Aggressive and filled with brio.” (Describing his unmatched qualities.)
  • “The fans should be happy to have me. I play football because I’m too good for it.” (Claiming football needs him more than vice versa.)

These bold statements represent a tiny fraction of audacious comments that have made Zlatan both a superstar and polarizing persona. But his historic stats and trophy haul does mean that maybe Sweden’s national hero and his fans deserve to enjoy a little extra arrogance.

Why do some people believe Zlatan is overrated?

Despite his sustained success at the top levels of European club football, some soccer experts and fans argue that Zlatan Ibrahimović is overvalued and overhyped. Critics downplay some of his historic scoring rates and trophies won as more a product of circumstance versus individual greatness.

Several common critiques of why Ibrahimović could be considered overrated include:

  • He has never won or even shined at a World Cup tournament, despite dominating domestically.
  • Historic scoring rates boosted by monopoly of set pieces and penalty kicks for his teams.
  • Struggled to fit into systems requiring pressing, tracking back, and defensive work rate.
  • Stat padding highlighted in games against weaker opponents.
  • Failed to replicate scoring feats in the most competitive leagues like Spain and England.
  • Dominated French league only after entering his 30s against questionable competition.

While clearly still a hall of fame talent, there is a case to be made that Zlatan receives more credit than warranted for his achievements. His highlight-reel goals and outrageous persona arguably fuel his reputation nearly as much as consistent match winning performances against top sides in big games.

What controversies has Zlatan sparked in the later stages of his career?

While never shy about speaking out, an aging Zlatan Ibrahimović has sparked some notable controversies in the final years of his illustrious playing career:

  • Critical of LeBron James activism: Zlatan dismissed LeBron focusing on politics/social issues, saying “Do the category you do. I play football because I’m the best playing it.”
  • AC Milan contract drama: He re-signed with Milan in 2020, but suddenly quit months later after clashes with executives about role with club.
  • Made crude joke about France player: In 2021, he made lewd joke about France defender Benjamin Pavard, saying he was knocked out during a match so Zlatan could sleep with his sister.
  • Child gambling sponsorship: Swedish press 2018 highlighted his sponsorship deal to promote Bethard Group, featuring youth gambling and allegations he was selling out.
  • Tax fraud charges in Spain: Prosecutors allege he owes €1 million in dodged taxes during time with Barcelona from image rights sales. Case still pending.

While recognizing his on-field talents, Zlatan’s continued penchant for stirring controversies off-pitch mars his standing for some as an ambassador. And the legal issues and gambling sponsorships undermine his impact.

How has Zlatan stayed so successful into his late 30s?

Very few footballers ever perform at a world-class level into their late 30s. Extreme fitness, sharpness, and determination becomes harder and harder to maintain with age. But Zlatan Ibrahimović has defied typical decline curves, excelling past age 40 for Milan in Serie A play.

Some reasons why Ibrahimović has stayed so lethal and cheat time include:

  • Sheer willpower: His monk-like focus on training, conditioning, recovery is unmatched according to teammates and coaches. Believes his mind can defeat human limitations.
  • Freak athleticism: Despite losing half a step, still quicker and stronger than almost any defender that matches up with him. Elite dexterity and balance.
  • Cunning skills: Master of positioning, improvisation, technical footwork make up for some physical regression. Debugged soccer IQ leverages lifetime knowledge.
  • Good injury luck: Has somehow dodged major ligament, muscle injuries during key elderly years. Careful workload management and Peter Pan training habits help too.
  • Tactical evolution: Moved central, less running required. Developed 3 point shooting range with both feet to still threaten from anywhere.

While his decline has finally become noticeable, Ibrahimović remains an age-defiant weapon few defenders enjoy contending with even today.

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