Zlatan Ibrahimović As Coach—How Would He Fare?

Zlatan is one of the most egoistical footballers ever. He calls himself God, he says he can play all positions in a game and sometimes laugh at how perfect he is. In all fairness, he’s also one of the best footballers to have graced the beautiful game.

He’s been playing football for two decades, scored over 540 goals and won 31 trophies. To spice up his record, the Swedish international has scored in each of the last four decades, played in nine clubs won the Footballer of the Year Award 13 times—eleven in Sweden and twice in Italy.

With such a decorated career, Zlatan has all it takes to be a football coach. He’s 38-years-old and nearing the end of his career, but will he take up a role as a club manager?

He Has no Plans to Coach

Speaking to Mirror Football last year, Zlatan called coaching a stressful job in which one year feels like a decade.

“I think being a coach is very stressful,” Zlatan said. “One year feels like ten years.”

When asked if he would fancy a career as a manager, the Swedish international said:

“I don’t say no because you never know what happens, but…I don’t think so.”

The AC Milan forward went on to highlight how managers who take up coaching roles with black hair develop grey hair quickly.

“I see many coaches—the first season, they have black hair, next season they have grey hair.”

What if he Did?

Although Zlatan says he’s not interested in a coaching job once he retires, he does not rule out the job. He can always change his mind, especially if called to coach a team he loves, let’s say AC Milan or the Sweden national team.

So, what if Zlatan became a coach? Would he become as successful as Pep Guardiola or flop like Gary Neville?


  • Experience as a Player


In his admission, being a former player helps coaches immensely.  They can see the game “from inside the field,” meaning as they did as players. That said, Zlatan is one of 28 players to have scored over 500 career goals.

As such, not only does he have the experience of a two-decade footballing career but he’s been outstanding as well. Of course, being an experienced player doesn’t always translate to being a great coach.

Just take a look at Gary Neville and Diego Maradona’s coaching resumes. The former Man United defender lasted as Valencia’s manager less than four months, having turned a team fighting for a UCL position into a relegation side.

The Argentinian legend, on the other end, has coached at least six clubs and enjoyed little success with none of them. Luckily, he’s still has a job as a manager even if his team is battling relegation.


  • Leadership Skills


Zlatan is a leader both in the locker room and outside of it. He’s steered multiple teams to win the league and European tournaments, nurtured young players and earned the respect of many teammates.

Leadership is a crucial skill for football managers. That means if anything were to affect his managerial job, it wouldn’t be a lack of leadership. Instead, it could be…


  • His Massive Ego


Zlatan loves himself too much at best and he’s a narcissist at worst. That has worked alright for him as a player but it could backfire as a coach. Here’s why. Players don’t care much that the Swede constantly calls himself better or that he has the image of a god.

In the managerial space, however, players don’t always respond well to an egoistical manager. In fact, they often crush publicly, like Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba in Manchester.

For Zlatan to succeed as a coach, he would need to tap on his leadership skills and give a rest to his alter ego. He could praise his players or gloat his managerial skills, but if he maintains his ego, it could affect his managerial job.


  • His Influence


It is not uncommon for players to join clubs to play for specific managers. Others regularly say they’ve changed positions or improved thanks to the influence of a coach. Zlatan has similar influence both at club and country level.

Had he no influence, he wouldn’t be on the homepage of Bethard Casino as an ambassador. Instead, the football and the iGaming brand has had a robust partnership since 2018. 

Zlatan’s influence could help whichever club he coaches sign many quality players. And if he backs up his influence with wins and trophies, he could elevate into a Pep-like level, where players do all they can to impress him.


  • His Classic Quotes


On face value, Zlatan’s interviews are exceptional. Almost anything he says makes the headlines, whether he’s talking about social events or taking a dig at fellow players. As a manager, no one would expect the Swedish lion to change.

Instead, Zlatan’s locker room talks would feature quotes like, “Go there and play like Zlatan, what are you waiting for?” Or tell his assistants, “Make substitutions like Zlatan would,” speaking in the third person as always.

In other words, Coach Zlatan wouldn’t be boring even if he flopped at his job. He’s never serious, although a lack of seriousness even when talking to his seniors would be a big reason for his firing.


  • His Sincerity


Zlatan tells it like it is, something far too many managers fear to say. He doesn’t sugarcoat or give praise where it shouldn’t be given. A case in point is when he told teammate Romello Lukaku how bad his first touch was while they played for United.

When it comes to managers, he’s often mentioned his favourites and told others off when he thought they were wrong. In fact, being since is one reason why his former coach at Juventus, Fabio Capello, is his favourite manager.

Being frank obviously translates to letting players know about their weaknesses and strengths. In turn, it makes for a better team since everyone will know their role and what they should do to help the team improve. 

By Rob 23rd March 2020

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