Hitting Cesar Azpilicueta in the back with his shoulder may have been a bad decision, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic would not change it.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic acknowledged his shoulder charge on Cesar Azpilicueta was stupid but insisted he would “100 per cent” do it again.
In the closing stages of Sweden’s 1-0 defeat to Spain this month, which meant they would have to go through the play-offs to reach the 2022 World Cup, Ibrahimovic steamed into Azpilicueta and sent him flying to the ground.
The veteran striker was shown a yellow card that has ruled him out of Sweden’s play-off semi-final in March.
But Ibrahimovic felt it was important for him to stand up for a team-mate and teach the Chelsea defender a lesson. It is not a decision he would change if he had his time again.
“The other day in the national team, I gave a tackle to [Azpilicueta]. I did it on purpose. I’m not ashamed to say it because he did something stupid to my player. Acting big to my player,” Ibrahimovic told The Guardian.
“It was a stupid thing but I would still do it to make him understand: ‘You don’t f****** do that. You don’t have balls to do it against me. But I will show you what happens if you do it to me.’ That’s why I did it.
“It’s not about missing the play-offs. It’s about making the guy understand you don’t take the p*** out of somebody laying [on the ground]. You don’t attack a dog that doesn’t talk. Attack the one able to do something. It’s too easy to pick on my team-mates who are 20 years old and very nice guys. I hope he understands now.
“I’m not afraid to say it to you. I did a stupid thing. [But] I will do it again. 100 per cent.
“That is what I say about being ‘perfect’. Being myself is perfect for me. I don’t need filters to ask them what kind of questions you will give me.”
Asked if Azpilicueta had said anything to him after the game, Ibrahimovic replied: “What can he say? He will not say it to me but he will say it to my player – who will do nothing because he’s too nice.
“It was not a good thing by me, but I would still do it. That’s me. I’m not ashamed to say it.”