The Real Madrid coach has hailed the PSG attacker as a leader, despite his propensity for winding up opponents
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not arrogant but misunderstood, according to former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Ancelotti was in charge of the Sweden international during his time at PSG, with the pair part of the successful 2012-13 Ligue 1-title winning team.
Ibrahimovic’s conduct – both on and off the pitch – has created controversy throughout his career amid rumours of disputes with team-mates, coaches and opponents in the past.
On Tuesday, the ex-Juventus and Barcelona forward raised eyebrows when he suggested in jest that Paris should replace the iconic Eiffel Tower with a statue of himself.
Marseille full-back Rod Fanni earlier this month claimed he had previously wanted to “punch” Ibrahimovic, who also hit the headlines in the aftermath of PSG’s 1-1 draw with Lyon on Sunday when he walked off midway through a post-match interview .
Current Real Madrid coach Ancelotti, however, thinks any criticism of him is unfair and that Ibrahimovic is a top footballer who simply likes to joke around.
“He jokes and he is a very happy man, but he’s just kidding around,” the Italian told Sport Bild . “But the image that people have of him is all wrong.
“One time he asked me if I believe in God, so I replied yes, he then asked me: ‘Do you think God is me?’
“He loves to joke and that is just the way he is, but inside there is a great professional. He is a winning type – a fighter and a leader within the team.
“I can think of very few strikers like him who prefer to find a great pass than to score a goal.”