Both Pep and Ibra are great at what they do, but they couldn’t find a way to work together at Barcelona. Ibrahimovic was brought as the next best striker in the world, and everything looked promising at the start.
But we all know Ibra has a tricky temperament, and he wasn’t going to accept a role other than the number one star in the team.
If Pep was a new and unproven coach, he would be forced by the board to play Ibrahimovic no matter what. But he had a new and successful philosophy, and full control over the team.
Messi was in his best form as well, which means he had freedom to pick his favorite position. With the extraordinary ability to score goals, Messi was assigned to play central.
Ibra wasn’t happy with the decision to play a secondary role in the attack, and after 6 months at Barcelona he wanted to leave.
We all knew something was wrong, because Barcelona gave Eto a lot of money to bring him from Inter. His ego was probably the biggest problem. Of course, both Pep and Ibra have a different story to tell.
Ibra is blaming Pep for not being able to succeed at Barcelona, and Pep is not willing to talk about the whole situation in details.
Ibra on Pep
“Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced b******t about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff.”
“Guardiola was staring at me and I lost it. I thought, ‘there is my enemy, scratching his bald head!’ I yelled: ‘You haven’t got any b***s!’ and worse than that I added: ‘You can go to hell!’ I completely lost it, and you might have expected Guardiola to say a few words in response, but he’s a spineless coward.”
“Jose Mourinho is Guardiola’s opposite. If Mourinho brightens up the room, Guardiola pulls down the curtains and I guessed that Guardiola now tried to measure himself with him [Mourinho].”
“When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari. If you drive a Ferrari, you put premium petrol in the tank, you hit the motorway and you step on the gas. Guardiola filled up with diesel and took a spin in the countryside. He should have bought a Fiat.”
“As a coach, he was fantastic. As a person, I’ve no comments about that, that’s something else. He’s not a man, there’s nothing more to say.” – Source.
Pep on Ibra
“If Ibra and I have spoken only twice in six months, there is a reason, but it is better for the club if I don’t talk about it.”
“Ibrahimovic was a very important player for us. He helped us a lot and his first six months were excellent. Part of that league title we won is his. If I meet him I’ll greet him, I say again that I have no problems with him.” – Source.