Argentine star Lionel Messi had “no problems” with former Barcelona teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the two played at the Spanish powerhouse, Messi said in an interview published Friday.
According to excerpts from Ibrahimovic’s upcoming autobiography published in Stockholm tabloids Thursday, the Swedish striker was frustrated at Barcelona and with coach Josep “Pep” Guardiola when Messi was given a more central role.
Ibrahimovic felt confined and after he raised the matter with Guardiola, the coach subsequently stopped talking to Ibrahimovic and even ignored looking at him, the Swede said according to the excerpt.
“He had problems with the coach, but I never had any problems with Zlatan,” Messi was quoted as telling the Aftonbladet newspaper.
Messi added that he “always got on” with Ibrahimovic and the Swede also had a good rapport with other players.
“He had problems with the coach and it is (a matter) between them,” Messi said.
Ibrahimovic left Barca in 2010 after just one year, returning to Italy at AC Milan.
In excerpts published Friday, Ibrahimovic described serious differences with former Arsenal midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg, his views of former Sweden coach Lars Lagerback and how current coach Erik Hamren persuaded him to play for Sweden again.
When Sweden failed to qualify to the 2010 World Cup finals, Ibrahimovic felt he would not play for Sweden again. Lagerback’s successor Hamren had to contend with a nine—month long timeout.
But Hamren continued to phone Ibrahimovic who described the Sweden coach as “a stubborn bastard. I like stubborn bastards,” according to the excerpt published in tabloid Expressen.
Sweden under Hamren recently qualified for the Euro 2012 finals.
The biography, titled I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was co—written with David Lagercrantz and due to be published November 15.