Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked Inter over Milan in 2006 “to stay in the history books” and claims “if you become top scorer in Italy, you can do so anywhere.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Sky Sport Italia, which he also discussed his transfer to Barcelona, Ibrahimovic explained why he initially rejected Milan and revealed the impact of Jose Mourinho on his career.
“There were Inter and Milan, there was talk of them both being interested,” the Manchester United striker told the broadcaster.
“Mino Raiola asked me, ‘do you want to be the best player in the world or the richest?’
“I replied, ‘the best,’ and he told me, ‘good, the best also becomes the richest.’ Therefore, my choice wasn’t financial but one to make a difference and stay in the history books.
“My choice of Inter over Milan was because Milan had already won the Champions League, whereas Inter hadn’t won the Scudetto for 17 years.
“Ronaldo, Il Fenomeno, Baggio, Bobo Vieri, Pirlo, Seedorf… they all passed through Inter, yet none of them won [the title], despite being great players.
“I thought, ‘if I go to Inter and win it, I’ll have done something that they didn’t.’ If you win something after 17 years, you stay in history.
“If you win at a club that always win, you’re one of many. That’s why I chose Inter. Mancini and Branca did everything to take me to Inter and I took this step.
“It wasn’t the most acceptable step for Juventus, but I was motivated. Vieira also came with me, plus there were Crespo, Zanetti, Adriano, Maicon: the team were complete.
“We just had to play and win in order to lift these trophies, which the team deserved, and from there we won our first Scudetto in 17 years.
“After that, the Special One arrived. When you bring in Mourinho, you bring in the entire package.
“You bring in the Coach but also the media and everything else. It motivated me. He was tough, he puts pressure on you and gives you responsibility, but he wants something back, wants results.
“We won the title and for the first time, I became top scorer with Inter. If you become top scorer in Italy, you can do so anywhere.
“The Italian League is the most difficult, tactically they’re ahead of everyone else. In Italy, we’d won our fifth title in five years, with two or three Supercoppe.
“I’d been the best foreigner two or three times in six years, and I was so in Italy, who are ‘top of the top’.
“But by the end of my third year with them, I felt I wanted something new, a new stimulus.”
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