Zlatan Ibrahimovic bullishly told Arsene Wenger “I don’t do trials” after the legendary Frenchman attempted to sign him for Arsenal.
The talismanic Swede recently retired from playing after 24 years as a professional, signing off from football at the age of 41 after scoring 511 in 856 games at club level, in addition to 62 in 122 with the Sweden national team.
He played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs – Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, PSG and Manchester United – and also enjoyed a two-year spell in the United States with LA Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic began his career at Malmo in his native Sweden, during which time he had the opportunity to visit Arsenal and discuss a move to north London.
But in an interview with Piers Morgan, Ibrahimovic explained he was intensely against the idea of only going on trial at Arsenal and so reneged on their arrangement.
“When I was young, I had a lot of interest from a lot of clubs, and one of them was Arsenal,” he said. “So, I came to the office of Mr Arsene Wenger, and it was a big hype because I saw these players, Bergkamp, Henry, I saw Ljungberg, I saw Vieira, I saw all these players, and I was like ‘F**k, this is big’, because these players I see on TV, even if I already played in high level Sweden.
“But this was big, because this was like, ‘I am here now’. Last week I was playing PlayStation with these guys. And I spoke with Wenger, and he has this French, he was tall, I didn’t expect him to be so tall.
“I came in his office and we spoke and he was like, ‘What do you want?’ He wanted to get to know me, to feel me. Because I think he is a type of person, he just don’t buy the player, he wants to know what he is buying I think. In the end, he had an Arsenal shirt with number nine and, ‘We want you to come and do a trial for two weeks’.
“Everything was good until he said you come and do a trial. I was looking at him. Obviously he is Wenger, I am nobody at that moment. I said, ‘I don’t do trials’, and he was like, ‘What do you mean?’
“‘I don’t do trials, either you want me or you don’t want me, or else why am I here?’ That was me, but it was not to play a game, it was me. ‘No, but you have to come and do a trial’ and then, ‘No, no, you don’t understand, I don’t do trials’. That was it, I never went to Arsenal.”
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