Ibrahimovic reveals that Maradona made him leave MLS
At the end of the 2019 Major League Soccer regular season the Swedish striker decided to return to Europe and joined Serie A giants AC Milan.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is considered to be one of the best signings in the history of Major League Soccer. He joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer of 2018 and scored 22 goals and provided 10 assists in 27 league appearances. Unfortunately, he was not able to help the team qualify for the playoffs, but he was eager to return the following year.
In his next campaign he scored 30 goals and provided seven assists in 29 appearances and helped the Galaxy reach the playoffs for the first time in five years. He featured in two MLS Cup playoff matches, scoring one goal, but LA Galaxy were knocked out in the second round by LAFC.
Ibrahimovic reveals why didn't he renew his contract
After the season came to an end the club wanted to extend Ibrahimovic's contract, but the striker decided not to. A few weeks later he announced that he would be joining AC Milan, but he later revealed that his intention was to join Napoli because Diego Armando Maradona played there.
“Maradona is a myth. Seeing a documentary about him I decided to go to Napoli, to do like Diego: win the Scudetto," he said during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was tired of America. I thought I would quit. [Mino] Raiola told me 'you’re crazy, you have to go back to Italy'.
“It was done with Napoli; but then De Laurentiis kicked out [Carlo] Ancelotti. So I asked Mino, 'who's the worst team that I can save?'. He replied 'yesterday Milan lost 5-0 in Bergamo'. Then it’s decided, I said 'let’s go to Milan. It’s a club I know, a city I like'."
Ibrahimovic on his return to Milan
"At the beginning, nobody ran in training," Ibrahimovic continued. "I faced them one by one, and not on the sidelines but in front of everyone. I said 'in training, you have to kill yourselves with work. If I run, if I kill myself, my team-mates must run and kill themselves for me'. Everyone understood it, except one. Rafael Leão didn't pay attention to me at first. He got there on his own. Honestly, he has improved a lot."