5th March, 2012
AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has explained why he turned down Arsenal as a junior player.
The super Swede left at the time Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wasn’t serious about signing.
Ibrahimovic told The Sun: “Arsene gave me the famous red and white jersey — the No 9 shirt with Ibrahimovic on it and I was so pleased I even posed for a picture wearing it.
“It was a fantastic moment for me. Arsenal had a great team then and here was an Arsenal shirt made just for me.
“So then I waited for him to convince me that I should join Arsenal. But he didn’t even try, he never actually made me a serious offer, it was more ‘I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was like ‘No way, Zlatan doesn’t do auditions’.
“I thought ‘You either know me or you don’t and if you don’t know me you can’t really want me’.
“You see, even back then I had great faith in myself, even though I was still young.
“I’m sure that some other young players might have agreed to try out because this was the famous Arsenal team and this was Arsene Wenger. But I knew it wasn’t just Arsenal who wanted me — Roma wanted me and Ajax wanted me.
“So I said ‘No’ and, in the end, I signed for Ajax instead. It was the perfect choice. Maybe at Arsenal, maybe at Roma I would not have got straight into the team.
“At Ajax I did and so I was suddenly playing for a top club, winning titles and playing in the Champions League, too.”