November 4, 2011

Zlatan's Back...

... and whinier than ever.

So, Ibrahimovic wrote a book in which he cries about how mean Mr. Pep bullied his existence and shattered his dreams. Because, you know, we can’t expect him to be over it over a year later. Well I’m here to pick his whining apart quote by quote… starting from where he begins by pointing fingers at Messi (oh, this is going to be fun):

"Playing at Barca was a childhood dream and I was walking on air. It started well but then Messi started to talk.”

"He wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, so the system changed from 4-3-3 to 4-5-1. I was sacrificed and no longer had the freedom on the pitch I need to succeed.”

"So I asked for a meeting with Guardiola - for a discussion, not an argument. I said I was being used in the wrong way and that they shouldn’t have bought me if they wanted another type of player.

"I told him what a friend had said to me - you bought a Ferrari but drive it like a Fiat.”

First of all, this shows just how stubborn and close-minded Ibra is as a player and a person. Like, playing in the center is the only thing he can ever possibly do and he’s completely unwilling to try at another position. He says playing at Barcelona was his ‘childhood dream’ yet he seems to have come to this club without knowing a single thing about it. Without knowing that at Barca, Pep shuffles players around like a deck of cards and on any given day, a fullback might be winger and a winger might be striker and a midfielder might be a centerback or a fullback or a forward. Without knowing that at Barca, they play a very specific style that most of the team has grown up with and if you’re a newcomer you’re going to have to work incredibly hard to adapt. Without knowing that at Barca, neither he nor any other player on earth will ever come before Messi.

Now, I fully agree that the club should never have signed him because he was never going to fit in. But for someone who proclaims that this was a childhood dream of his, he sure didn’t make much of an effort to try to fit in. It’s like he stopped trying at all the minute he was told he can’t play in the center. Well, I have two words for you, Zlatan:


For heaven’s sake Villa played as a striker his entire life, for club and country, before he joined Barca. At age twenty-eight. Then our club told him he’d have to become a winger because Messi was playing in the center. What Villa understood that Ibra could not is that if the optimal spot for Messi is playing in the center, then Messi is going to play in the center. If he wanted to be part of Barca he would have to adapt to the wing.

Our apologies, Ibra, if you are unable to perform unless you are the uncontested star of the team. You didn’t seriously think anyone was going to put you before Messi, did you?

Villa worked his ass off to adapt to a new position in a new style at a new club. There he was, box-fresh Euro and World Cup champion and top-scorer of both those competitions, re-learning the fundamentals of football the Barca way. He’s explained several times how he had to start again from the basics, and how he took Pedro as a reference and learned from him – Pedro, the kid just plucked from the B-team. THIS is someone who wants to be at the club. Your childhood dream, Ibra? Really? REALLY?

Even Cristiano Ronaldo, arrogant prick that he is, when asked if he was happy with the way Real Madrid were playing after they went down 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League last season, replied: "No, I don't like it but I have to adapt to what is asked of me." And Mourinho, Ibra’s precious Mourinho, dropped Cris from Real Madrid’s following Liga fixture just for saying that.

Yet it's completely outrageous for Ibra to be asked to adapt to something new...

Moving on now to the rest of his wails.

“I would walk into a room; Guardiola would leave. He would greet everyone by saying hello, but would ignore me.”

“The atmosphere in the dressing room was way too quiet for me. Messi, Iniesta and Xavi always obeyed without protesting. They were like schoolboys. I'm not like that and I couldn't be myself. I had done a lot to adapt - the Barca players were like schoolboys, following the coach blindly, whereas I was used to asking 'why?' I like guys who run red lights, not pedantic and strict rules. So I tried to be overly nice, didn’t dare lose my temper."

Players listening to their coach, imagine that! No Ibra, you’re perfectly right, they should’ve all staged a walkout and picketed the Camp Nou parking lot in protest against… what exactly?

This is your coach. He makes the decisions. Not you. And I would think, judging by the unprecedented treble he’d led the team to just before you came along, that he kind of knows what he’s doing. The team trusts him.

Yesterday some quotes came out from Messi in regards to Ibra's complaints, namely: “We have no idea what he is talking about. There was & still is an excellent atmosphere in the dressing room.”

And this is something that the Barca players are endlessly reiterating. All of them, the ones who have been here since they were kids and the ones who joined later on, cannot seem to stress enough how amazing the team’s atmosphere is and how much they are like a family. So is the problem with the entire team then, or with this one moron and his inflated head?

Also, I love the part where he says he loves guys who run red lights and not strict rules. Again I have to go back to the part where I say that for someone who says playing at Barcelona is his ‘childhood dream’, he really seems to have come to the club without knowing a single thing about it. Without knowing that Barca – Pep’s Barca – is all about discipline. Everyone knows that when Pep took over the reins from Rijkaard, some of the main changes he implemented and what set him apart from Rijkaard right away were his disciplinary actions. Let me just copy/paste some of the policies Pep introduced from an article I wrote back in 2008:

- The return of monetary fines to keep players from arriving late and skipping trainings, something that was going on overlooked under Rijkaard.

- Obligatory team meals and the like, to create a spirit of unity between the players and really bring them together as a team, as well as to monitor the players’ diets and keep them in shape.

- Longer training sessions with more physicality to keep the players in shape and well trained for each match, after Rijkaard’s preference of short trainings without much physicality.

- The introduction of video review sessions of the trainings with the team to analyze strong points, weak points, see what needs improvement and work on that.

Then there was the way Pep had the club sell players like Ronaldinho and Deco who had become regular slackers; Eto’o, with his attitude issues, was lucky to stay for one season under him. With Pep it’s a matter of zero tolerance – either you’re disciplined and committed or you’re gone. He shouldn’t have to waste his time trying to get through to players who aren’t willing to work, because there are plenty of others who are more than willing. If Ibra wanted a club that didn’t have strict rules then Barca was the very last one he should have considered.

And the whining continues…

"But after this I stopped trying to adapt. For example, at Barca players were banned from driving their sports cars to training. I thought this was ridiculous - it was no one’s business what car I drive - so in April, before a match with Almeria, I drove my Ferrari Enzo to work. It caused a scene."

Now he is unable to follow a simple rule. Really, this is the last club he should have even thought to consider... and Barca was his childhood dream?

After Barca got knocked out of the Champions League by the then Mourinho-coached Inter Milan, over two legs in which Ibra was absolute crap (possibly on purpose, seeing as he adores Mourinho to death and he had, as he himself proclaims, stopped trying to adapt at that point and obviously had no more consideration for the club), Pep dropped him from the starting lineup and started Bojan in the Liga fixture against Villareal. Bojan scored and Barca won 4-1; Ibra only got five minutes at the end. He felt offended and went to yell at Pep over the matter:

“Pep was staring at me and I lost it. I thought, ‘there is my enemy, scratching his bald head’. I yelled to him: ‘You have no balls!’ And probably worse things than that. I added: 'You are s****ing yourself because of Mourinho! You can go to hell!’ I was completely mad.”

Lol. Okay, if he thinks Pep ‘fears’ Mourinho or whatever he is seriously delusional. I’m not going to get into Pep vs Mou issues now, I already wrote that article – and anyway, the behavior of both coaches speaks for itself. Also, I love that he told Pep he didn’t have any balls after Pep had tossed him to the bench. He had the balls to bench you, didn’t he? Not that anything Ibra says really makes much sense.

All this shows – all any of Ibra’s rants really show – is that he is not one bit a professional. He’s a petulant baby who wants everyone to do things his way and his way only, and if that doesn’t happen then he has a hissy-fit and starts calling people names. It’s a wonder he didn’t start throwing things as well…

Oh wait, he did.

"I threw a box full of training gear across the room, it crashed to the floor and Pep said nothing, just put stuff back in the box.”

So Ibra was losing his mind and Pep just kept calm and cleaned up his mess. I love it. That, Ibra, is called being a professional.

“I’m not violent, but if I were Guardiola I would have been frightened."

Frightened of an overgrown baby. Riiiiiight.

When Ibra left the club at the end of the summer in 2010, he whined about how Pep had been ignoring him and hadn’t talked to him in months. No really, was he expecting Pep to ask him out to tea after that incident?

Ibra: It’s been over a year. You are a grown man. You don’t even have a point. Freaking get over it already.