Thursday March 4 2021
Mihajlovic: 'Zlatan friendship started with headbutt'

Sinisa Mihajlovic reveals he became friends with Zlatan Ibrahimovic after ‘a headbutt’ and the Swede struggled to find the words when the Bologna coach was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Ibrahimovic is acting as a guest host at the Sanremo Music Festival all week and had a joint interview with Mihajlovic on the stage this evening.

“Our friendship began with a headbutt,” smiled Mihajlovic, referring to the clash during a Juventus-Inter fixture that saw the striker sent off.

“The thing with Zlatan is, you can’t threaten him. You have to provoke him, that’s how you put him off. He was so angry that he headbutted me and was sent off. When he joined Inter, I wanted to return the favour. That’s how we show affection!”

Mihajlovic also teased Ibrahimovic about the fact he has never won the Champions League.

“He is jealous of something he doesn’t have. The Champions League. He played it, I won…”

Ibra replied: “There’s still time.”

The conversation moved on to the moment Mihajlovic was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in the summer of 2019.

“I had to wait a few days, because I didn’t have the courage to make the phone call. When I did, I couldn’t speak,” revealed Ibrahimovic.

“I managed to say, if there’s anything at all that you need. Anything I can do. Just ask. So Sini said, ‘I could do with a striker who scores goals.’

“I said we’ll see. After that, he called me every single day to ask if I’d made a decision yet!”

Because it is a music festival, the pair then joined in with presenters Rosario Fiorello and Amadeus singing I Nomadi song ‘Io Vagabondo.’

Mihajlovic seemed to be enjoying the moment more than Ibrahimovic, who barely appeared to know what the tune was.

When the Sweden international was asked if he personally knew Abba, his response was “no, but they know who I am.”