In an exclusive interview with La Nacion, former Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero revealed how Zlatan Ibrahimovic conducted on and off the field during his time at Old Trafford.
Romero joined the club from Sampdoria on a free transfer in the summer of 2015. He was a second-choice goalkeeper throughout his time at the club and largely played in the Cup competitions.
His most notable campaign was definitely in 2016/17 when he made 12 appearances in the Europa League en route to United beating Ajax in the final at the Friends Arena in Stockholm.
Romero parted ways with the club in the summer of 2021 but speaking to La Nacion, he recalled his time at United and spoke about how Wayne Rooney and Ibrahimovic were at the club.
The 2014 World Cup finalist revealed that Rooney was one of the first to welcome him on his arrival on a free transfer and always tried to help him. The same was the case with Michael Carrick.
He said: “They are not as difficult locker rooms as you might assume. Obviously egos are there and sometimes they clash, yes, it happens. I arrived at United and I saw Rooney and I said ‘paaaa, he’s a legend, he’s won everything’, and the madman welcomed me from day one.”
“I told him: ‘Look, my English is terrible’. And he didn’t mind at all and always tried to help me. He asked me what I needed, he came to me every day… The same with Michael Carrick, top people who left their mark on the Premier League. People that if I send them a message today, they answer me and make themselves available.”
The Argentine added that Ibrahimovic was the same on and off the playing field. In the press, he described himself as ‘God on earth’ and Romero highlighted that the striker was the same ’24 hours a day’ and made his presence felt in the dressing room.
He added: “Behind closed doors, he was the same as what you saw outside. Those things he said in the press, that he was God on earth and things like that, he was the same in the dressing room. He was like that 24 hours a day and in the group, all the time, he made you see that he was there.”
“But with us, with the Argentinians, with Marquitos [Rojo], he had something different. Zlatan knew that we Argentinians were one way and Brazilians were another. He knew that if he bit us a little bit, he would lift us up and we wouldn’t fall.
“If he looked for us, he would find that competitive side of us. If he touched us, we would jump like boiled milk and that would empower everyone. He touched that fibre and he knew that we would respond as he demanded. More than once he thanked us, Marquitos and me, because he enjoyed training with us, because if he touched our hearts, we worked harder.”
Ibrahimovic joined United on a free transfer during the 2016/17 campaign. The Sweden star was exceptional in his debut season with 28 goals from 46 outings before suffering a serious knee injury.
In the following campaign, he barely made an impression. He returned from his long-term setback in November 2017 but played for just one month before suffering another knee concern.
In March 2018, Ibrahimovic chose to move to Major League Soccer with Los Angeles Galaxy before returning to AC Milan in January 2020. He helped them win the Serie A in the following season.
Ibrahimovic, who retired at the end of last season, has had a mixed reception among football fans, but he had a brilliant and illustrious club career with plenty of trophies and over 500 goals to his name.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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