Super-agent Mino Raiola has launched a blistering verbal attack on Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, telling Dutch magazine Quote last week that he can never forgive him for his treatment of Zlatan Ibrahimovic while at Barcelona.
Raiola, who represents star players like Paul Pogba, Mario Balotelli and Romelu Lukaku, as well as Ibrahimovic, said that while he respects Guardiola’s managerial record, he had no time for him as a person.
“As a manager Guardiola is great, but as a human he’s a zero!” he said. “He said we had to talk to him if we had any complaints, but then he stopped playing Zlatan and ignored him. He didn’t even greet him.
“Guardiola is like a classic priest: Do what I say, don’t do what I do. I advised Zlatan to go to work in a Ferrari and to park it in his spot.”
Raiola revealed that he almost came to blows with Guardiola when he left out Maxwell for the 2011 Champions League final against Manchester United.
“Guardiola is a cowardly dog,” he added. “He pulled the same trick on Maxwell, who is a great guy. I went to London for the Champions League final and saw in the stadium that he wasn’t on the list. So that f—ing Guardiola wanted to let [Eric] Abidal make his re-entry [after recovering from liver cancer]. That was fine of course, and you can see why, but be honest about it.
“I was livid, almost went for him [Guardiola] in the catacombs, but luckily Adriano Galliani, AC Milan’s president, was able to stop me.”
Ibrahimovic and Guardiola did not see eye-to-eye during the Swedish striker’s one season at Camp Nou in 2009-10, before he was sent on a season-long loan to Milan — eventually joining them permanently in 2011-12.
Ibrahimovic scored 11 goals in his first 14 league games at Barcelona, but his relationship with Guardiola soon deteriorated and he later wrote in his autobiography: “When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari. If you drive a Ferrari, you put premium petrol in the tank, you hit the motorway and you step on the gas. Guardiola filled up with diesel and took a spin in the countryside. He should have bought a Fiat.”
The falling out has likely ensured Raiola will not work with Guardiola again. When asked if he thought Manchester City would win the Champions League this season, the agent replied: “Yes, but I don’t want him to. Also because none of my players are with him.”