Zlatan Ibrahimovic has spoken to Sky Sports about the difference between confidence and arrogance, as well as his personal hopes for the season ahead.
Goalscorer, winner, funny. That’s how Jose Mourinho described you in three words. How would you describe yourself in three words?
I don’t like to describe myself, that’s for others to do. It depends. I am a normal person. People have the image of me that I’m a bad boy; I’m this and I’m that. People are curious: ‘How is this Zlatan?’
I’m a family guy. I’m taking care of my family, but when I come on the pitch I’m a lion. That’s the big difference. I don’t believe I’m arrogant in the way that people think. I’m confident. I believe in myself. That’s not being arrogant. That’s something I believe is an individual strength in the human being.
I have confidence and I believe in myself. I have a vision and I do everything. I work hard for it. I don’t believe that’s arrogant.
There’s a fine line between supreme confidence and arrogance. Also, perhaps some people don’t realise that most stuff you say you say with a big smile on your face and tongue in cheek. You play up to this image, you have fun with it don’t you?
I have a lot of fun with it, I am just being myself. I am not pretending to be somebody I am not. I am not pretending to be perfect. I make mistakes, I have made mistakes, I learn from it. But I will still make them, that’s being human, and everybody does the same thing. The one who thinks he is perfect will fall very fast.
Is a lot of it an act? Dare to Zlatan is you having fun?
I don’t believe in acting. I don’t get paid to act. I am always myself. I don’t pretend anything. Either people like it or they don’t – I don’t care. I am not here to make up an act, I am here to play football, here to win. At the end of your career, people remember you for what you have won, not for the people who act.
But you look like you have fun along the way?
I have a lot of fun. You need to bring the positive energy and give it away.
Do we know the real Zlatan?
There are few people that know me close. The papers and the media have an image of Zlatan which I don’t believe is the true Zlatan, but I have fun with it. If the media makes money writing a story about somebody…they need to eat food just like me.
Have you got a motto?
I think it’s all about destiny. Whatever happens is supposed to happen, that’s what I believe. It was meant for me to come to England after all the talk.
Are you someone who lives in the present, not the past?
The past is the past, the present is the present. Whatever happened has happened, it is not something I think about now. It’s about making new chapters in your life. We are in a new chapter now, we are ready for it.
What do you make of the competition in the Premier League this season?
It will be very exciting. All the big coaches in one league, teams fighting for the Premier League, especially after last year when it was won by an outsider. You have players coming too and clubs are investing a lot. It will be a very interesting season.
What are you expecting from it?
I expect a lot of things. The one that will win will be the one that is the strongest, of course, that has the best equilibrium throughout the season, not just on the pitch, mentally too.
And personally, is about the amount of goals you score, or do you get as much satisfaction from helping the team to score?
In my career people say this player is an ego and he is that, but look at how many assists I have. When I make assists and help the team to score it’s the same as when I score. Goals yes, I help the team, but assists also help the team, so I am looking for both.
How much do you see this whole thing as an adventure?
This is a new chapter in my career. It’s a huge adventure and I am working hard for it, and the hard work will pay off.