90min

Zlatan Ibrahimovic selects ultimate dream XI & hints at future coaching role

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Would you want Zlatan as your manager?
Would you want Zlatan as your manager? / Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has labelled Diego Maradona as the greatest ever player while selecting his all-time XI, also hinting that he may become a coach in the future.

Ibrahimovic's dream team was full of former teammates while several players - including Maradona - got the nod despite never sharing the field with the Swede.

"I choose eleven for their strength or for affection. Those who gave me something," he told Sportkeek (via Football Italia).

Zlatan has enjoyed a strong start ot the season with Milan
Zlatan has enjoyed a strong start ot the season with Milan / Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

"[Gianluigi] Buffon is the goalkeeper, I played with him at Juventus. That was a special team. I have great memories. I was young and everyone treated me like I am treating young players at Milan now. They had so much to teach me.

"Maxwell is the left-back, he is a friend of mine. Then [Alessandro] Nesta and [Fabio] Cannavaro in central defence. Fabio was crazy, he used to take me around Naples with his scooter. I was young, I didn’t have experience. Him and [Lilian] Thuram had too much. I’d like to play with them now.

"Maicon is the right-back, when he arrived at Inter he wasn’t consider as strong as he proved to be.

"Then [Pavel] Nedved, the number one. He is the one who improved me more than anyone else. When I saw him I understood that what I was doing was not enough. He was always training, he was a machine.

"I pick up [Patrick] Vieira and Xavi in the middle of the park. Two champions."

Partway through selecting his team, Ibrahimovic took aim at former manager Pep Guardiola, with whom he endured a tumultuous relationship in Catalonia.

"That Barcelona side was such a strong team. The first six months were amazing, but then I didn’t feel well because of the coach," he said.

The pair did not click when working together at Barcelona
The pair did not click when working together at Barcelona / LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Ibrahimovic rounded off his eleven by lavishing both Maradona and Zinedine Zidane with praise, before hinting at what might be in the pipeline when he finally retires.

"Attack is easy: [Zinedine] Zidane attacking midfielder, Ronaldo the phenomenon and Diego Maradona up front," he said.

"He is the greatest of all time, better than me. I could be the coach of this team, who knows, maybe I can really become a coach one day."

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