Zlatan Ibrahimovic launched a scathing attack on Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta after their fight during the international break
The veteran AC Milan striker planted a firm shoulder behind the defender’s back earlier this month as Spain sealed a 1-0 victory over Sweden to reserve their World Cup spot in Qatar next year.
Azpilicueta was left in a heap on the ground and the veteran forward was booked off camera in stoppage time after the incident.
The former Manchester United striker’s houseboat on the Chelsea star has been described as “dangerous”, although Azpilicueta confirmed after the game that he was fine.
It was a costly decision for Ibrahimovic, as his yellow card meant he was suspended for Sweden’s crucial World Cup qualifiers.
The 40-year-old has now revealed why he faced the Spaniard so fiercely, claiming Azpilicueta made a comment to one of his teammates earlier in the game.
And Ibrahimovic showed no remorse for it.
He told the Guardian: “The other day in the national team, I tackled [Spain’s Azpilicueta]. I did it on purpose.
“I’m not ashamed to say it because he did something stupid to my player.
“Act big for my player. It was a stupid thing but I would do it anyway to make him understand, ‘You don’t do that. You don’t have the balls to do it against me. But I’ll show you what happens if you do it to me.
“That’s why I did it.”
“What can he say? ” he added.
“He won’t tell me but he will tell my player – who won’t do anything because he’s too nice. It wasn’t a good thing for me, but I would do it anyway. It’s me. I’m not ashamed to say it.
Zlatan, who remains remarkably strong for club and country despite being in his 40s, will now miss Sweden’s play-off semi-final in March 2022 with a suspension.
The Milan striker, however, does not seem bothered by his one-game ban, insisting he faced the Chelsea man to teach him a lesson.
He said: “It’s not about missing the play-offs. It’s about making the guy understand that you’re not kidding someone posing [on the ground].
“You don’t attack a dog that doesn’t speak. Attack whoever is able to do something.
“It’s too easy to take it out on my teammates who are 20 years old and very nice guys. I hope he understands now.
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