Legendary former Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has given his recollections of his time at Inter Milan, and striker Mario Balotelli.
Ibrahimovic spoke at the Trento Festival of Sport, via FCInter1908.
Ibrahimovic retired from football over the summer, following his final season at AC Milan.
The 42-year-old called time on one of the most successful careers for a striker during the 21st century.
Ibrahimovic starred for the likes of Ajax, Juventus, AC Milan, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester United in different spells.
And between 2006 and 2009, the Swede plied his trade for Inter.
In those three seasons with the Nerazzurri, Ibrahimovic enjoyed some of the best form of his career. The Swedish legend was a key figure for an Inter team that won the Serie A title in all three of his campaigns at the club.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Opens Up About Inter, Balotelli
Ibrahimovic recalled the process of his joining Inter in 2006 from Juventus following the Bianconeri’s relegation to Serie B.
“Raiola was speaking with both Milan and Inter,” he noted.
“I was closer to Milan. Then they were playing in the playoffs for the Champions League, and so I had to wait for the result.”
“And then in that moment, their neighbours understood that the opportunity was there for them,” he noted. “They moved quickly and closed the deal.”
The 42-year-old looked back that “There was a lot of talk. In the end Mino said that I would join whichever team made the move first. And it was Inter.”
Of former Nerazzurri striker Balotelli, Ibrahimovic said that “A young man always wants the opportunity to exploit his talent and transform his future.”
“He’s had many, and he hasn’t taken many of them,” he said of the former Italian international.
“Meanwhile, there are a lot of people out there who wish they’d just get one. That’s the truth.”
As far as his form at Inter goes, Ibrahimovic said that “I felt that there was constant growth there. I felt like a complete striker.”
“I helped the team as best I could,” he noted. “I scored goals and created chances.”
“Mancini gave me trust and responsibility,” the Swede looked back.
“Then Mourinho arrived, and he was totally different. I felt that I was growing little by little to reach my goals.”
Looking Back On Barcelona Defeat To Inter In 2010
Ibrahimovic also recalled his semifinal defeat against the Nerazzurri in 2010 while he was a Barcelona player.
“It would be nice to remember what Mourinho said to Guardiola,” he said. “But I don’t remember. I was listening to Pep.”
“The match wasn’t easy,” he continued. “In the first leg we lost 3-1 at San Siro. But if there had been VAR, maybe it would’ve been a story.”
“But there were no excuses. They did well.”
“We won at home. But the sending off played in their favour, because it forced them to defend better.”
“In football anything can happen, even things you don’t expect,” Ibrahimovic mmused.
“Everyone thought we would win easily, but we ended up losing instead.”
“That Barcelona was too dominant and strong,” the 42-year-old suggested.
“It was my best opportunity at winning the Champions League. But every club I played for had the potential to win it.”