Pep Guardiola has delivered a scathing response to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's claim that the Manchester City manager's 'ego' could prevent him from getting the best out of star striker Erling Haaland.
Ibrahimovic, who did not get along with Guardiola during their only season together at FC Barcelona more than ten years ago, expressed his admiration for Haaland in an interview, but questioned the coach's ability to deliver the 22-year-old Norwegian to enhance.
Ibrahimovic said: "It depends on Guardiola's ego whether he lets him be bigger than he is or not. Why didn't he allow me to improve? Because it happened not only to me, but also to many others."
Ahead of the weekend's Fulham game, Guardiola made no secret of his contempt when asked for his opinion on Ibrahimovic's comments.
"I don't like it when Erling scores three goals and all the attention is on him. I'm so jealous! Honestly, so jealous! I said: 'Erling, please don't score any more goals, otherwise the newspapers won't talk about me, they will just about you'. He's right, he knows me perfectly. He can still write a book."
The 'book' remark is most likely a reference to Ibrahimovic's autobiography in which he heavily criticizes Guardiola for his treatment of the Swede at Barcelona.
Ibrahimovic described Guardiola's treatment of him as if he'd bought a Ferrari and treated him like a Fiat, perhaps because he's had to share the limelight at the Camp Nou with the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.
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This article was originally published on 90min.com as Pep Guardiola counters Zlatan criticism with sarcasm.