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Barcelona is a sect full of school boys, says Ibrahimovic

By Reuters Staff
November 4, 2011

By Phil O’Connor

A new tell-all autobiography by Zlatan Ibrahimovic is already making headlines in Sweden this year — the question is whether anyone outside of the Scandinavian country will notice.

“I am Zlatan” will hit the shelves on November 15, in good time for the Christmas market, and already journalists are being offered the chance to read and report on excerpts from it.

The initial response is that, whilst it dosen’t contain too much new information about Malmo’s most famous footballing son, the fact that Zlatan is prepared to open up about his emotions to the public is the real big story.

“There’s a lot that is sensational in it,” Aftonbladet’s football writer Simon Bank told Reuters Sports Blog.

“Not the conflicts themselves, but the openness with which he speaks about the confrontations.”

The entire footballing world is aware that he fell out with Pep Guardiola, but until now his verbal attacks on “the Philosopher” have remained secret.

“He has shouted at Guardiola in the changing room, in front of everyone, that he lacks ‘cojones (balls)’ and he craps himself about Mourinho,” said Bank, who has read parts of the book. “He has also dismissed Barcelona as ‘a sect’ and ‘schoolboys’.”

Perhaps ironically for someone who grew up in Sweden’s consensus-based society, Zlatan had a hard time going from Inter Milan to Italy where teams were built around him, to Barcelona’s style, where the collective always takes precedence.

He railed against Barca’s instructions to players not to drive flash cars to training, and crashed an Audi into a concrete wall after losing control in the snow.

But although this book will grab the headlines in Sweden, the question is whether it will cause much of a splash elsewhere. That Ibra and Guardiola weren’t the best of friends is nothing new, and having moved to AC Milan many observers see his time at Barca as a closed chapter.

What it does do is add a little extra spice to the upcoming Champions League meeting between the two on Nov. 23. By then, the book will have been out over a week and journalists will have had plenty of time to dissect it.

What Ibra’s former Barca team mates will make of it is anyone’s guess.

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