Thursday June 1 2017
Raiola: ‘When Ibra left Juventus…’

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent claims he didn’t leave Juventus due to Calciopoli - “the deal with Inter was reached six months before”.

The Swedish striker left the Bianconeri when they were demoted to Serie B in 2006, joining the Beneamata and winning three Scudetti in a row.

Currently at Manchester United, the 35-year-old is recovering from a cruciate ligament injury, and his representative discussed both his past and his future in an interview with Corriere dello Sport.

“Of course Zlatan will come back and play,” Mino Raiola said.

“Where? We’ll see. He really is the best of all. And he’s not arrogant and presumptuous as people like to say, but honest and loyal.

“He’s a leader who respects everyone, but he needs the greatest commitment. I was with him for three weeks in Pittsburgh, USA where he was operated by Dr Freddie Fu and Volker Mushal on May 2.

“Our relationship has become even stronger. The operation was a complete success and you saw how happy he was when, even while limping, he lifted the Europa League at Solna.

“It’s not true that Ibra was transferred away from Juve because of Calciopoli, in the summer of 2006. The agreement with Inter was reached six months before.

“It was November 2, 2005. Champions League, Juve-Bayern 2-1, Ibra sent off in the 89th minute for a second booking.

“Moggi went on the rampage, and in the dressing room he exploded at me: ‘tell Ibrahimovic than he can shove his contract extension up his…’

“I’ll let you imagine Zlatan’s reaction. If he’d been sold in January, Inter would have paid €90m. Then Calciopoli broke out and he cost Moratti €20m.

“His move to Paris Saint-Germain? If it was up to Ibra he’d never have left Milan. So much so that one day [Adriano] Galliani invited me for dinner at his home.

“Adriano asked Zlatan: ‘Do you want to leave?’. Zlatan responded: ‘No, capo’.

“Adriano cut it short, he said: ‘Then we’ll never sell you. Your agent is here too, there’s a bottle of champagne. Mino, why don’t you make a toast?’.

“I knew what Milan’s financial difficulties were, and how crucial the transfers of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to the French club were.

“The Swede’s wages weighed on the accounts to the tune of some €75m gross. Given the situation, selling him was inevitable.

“And you should have seen Zlatan’s reaction, for three months he didn’t answer my calls, for 18 months he wouldn’t talk to Galliani.

“And on the day of his presentation, I had to go and get him in Stockholm in a private plane!”