Zlatan Ibrahimovic has branded Pep Guardiola “immature” over his man-management during their time together at Barcelona.
The 36-year-old joined Guardiola at the Nou Camp in 2009 from Inter Milan and became frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities, claiming the Spaniard decided to build his team around Lionel Messi.
Guardiola handed Ibrahimovic 29 appearances during their one-year stint together in Catalonia with the former Sweden international scoring 16 times from 23 starts.
Following an impressive start to life in Spain for Ibrahimovic, the pair’s relationship became fractured when the striker confronted Guardiola for altering his tactics.
“The first six months were perfect, then the manager changed system, tactics and it didn’t work for me,” Ibrahimovic told Sky in Italy. “I went to talk to him. I’m here to talk, if you think it’s for another reason then we can’t talk.
“I said: ‘I believe that you are sacrificing some players for one player, Messi’. He said: ‘I don’t think this is the case but I understand what you say. I will take care of it, no problem, I will solve everything’. I thought it would be OK.
“The following game I was on the bench. I don’t say anything, I work,” Ibrahimovic added. “Second match bench again. I thought he solved it well and he was not talking to me or explaining. Third match bench. Then the fourth match comes and bench again.
“I think something is strange. From that moment he stopped talking to me, looking at me. I go into a room and he walks out of it. He was not a bad person, but the most immature I’ve had because a man solves his problems.” Zlatan says.
The duo met on Sunday when Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 11 points following a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.