Zlatan’s quote on Ronaldo has been reported by almost every mainstream media outlet. The question, however, is this – How legitimate is the quote?
In football, January is the time when fans of the European clubs are rooting for a transfer story (linking their side to the signing of a footballing superstar, of course) to be true.
Justifiably, there are various rumours being churned out almost every day. The big clubs are targeted with more transfer stories for obvious reasons.
However, this time, we see a story – not a transfer story, but one which concerns two of the biggest stars in football – Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo.
There have been various reports which claim that Zlatan Ibrahimovic allegedly called Ronaldo’s move to Juventus ‘bull****.’ Here’s the complete quote:
“Cristiano talks about new challenges. He calls it a challenge to go to a team already armed & that has been winning the Serie A. Several years ago, why not go to the 2nd division to become champion and take the team to the 1st? Bullshit, going to Juve is no challenge.”
The question, however, is this – Did he even say that?
While it might never be known if the quote is indeed true (until Ibrahimovic himself confirms its legitimacy), there are all the indications which suggest otherwise.
The quote is everywhere at the moment. While Express were among the first in the mainstream media to publish the story, Bleacher Report stated that Zlatan spoke to a Belgian media outlet named ‘voetbalnieuws‘.
Did he, though?
Yes, the quote was initially reported by voetbalnieuws. However, in their report, they added a tweet from a Twitter account called ‘PurelyFootball’, which was seemingly the only source for Zlatan’s alleged quote in the article.
This is the tweet:
“Cristiano talks about new challenges. He calls it a challenge to go to a team already armed that has been winning the Serie A. Several years ago, why not go to the 2nd division to become champion and take the team to the 1st? Bullshit, going to Juve is no challenge.” pic.twitter.com/cflzPTakuM
— PF | Transfer News (@PurelyFootball) January 13, 2019
The ‘quote’ spread like wildfire on the internet and various fan pages across social media platforms used it to initiate fan-wars. As with most of the viral content on digital channels, it didn’t take long before mainstream media houses published it.
As mentioned above, The Daily Express were one of the first English media publishers to report the story on their digital platform. Here’s the link to the article:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic en ‘Express’. “Cristiano está hablando de nuevos desafíos y llama un desafío mudarse a un club donde ya es normal ganar la Serie A. Es una mierda, irse a la #Juventus no es ningún reto”. https://t.co/Ug6inOosbo
— Fútbol Total (@FT_Total) January 15, 2019
The report led to their contemporary in English media, The Mirror also publishing the story. Understandably, they sourced the ‘quote’ to the Daily Express.
Even ESPNFC posted the quote on their official Twitter account, which justifiably increased the credibility of the statement, and led to more media outlets across the world reporting about it.
Zlatan Ibrahimović slams Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus 🤐 pic.twitter.com/KlGzqZQGXV
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 14, 2019
The original question, however, still stood – Where did the quote come from?
The answer came from a five-day-old tweet by a verified Twitter account. Carter, who tweets at @essediafoilouco, tweeted the quote in Portuguese. The link on his Twitter bio links to an online shopping site for clothing.
Here’s the tweet:
“Cristiano fala de novos desafios. Ele chama de desafio ir para um time já armado e que vem ganhando a Série A há vários anos. Por que não vai para a 2ª divisão para ser campeão e levar o time para a 1ª? Parem de falar bobagens, ir para a Juve não é nenhum desafio.”
– Ibra pic.twitter.com/j2QtMzWpjq
— Carter (@essediafoilouco) January 11, 2019
The quote mentioned in the tweet is roughly translated to this:
“Cristiano talks about new challenges. He calls it a challenge to go to an already armed team that has been winning the Serie A for several years. Why not go to the 2nd division to be a champion and take the team to the 1st? Stop talking nonsense, going to Juve is no challenge.”
However, the problem with the sourcing of the statement persists.
The user has posted the quote without its source, and so, as it stands, we’re still in the process of identifying the legitimacy behind the quote.
Upon further research, we found a YouTube video from the ‘Dan Patrick Show’, posted on August 8 last year.
The host talked to Zlatan over a telephonic interview in which Zlatan opined on Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus, which seems to be the only credible source over his opinion on the Portuguese forward’s move.
Here’s the video:
“I think it’s good for Italian football,” Zlatan begins in the interview.
“Me myself was in Italy, but I was there when the championship [Serie A] was at the top in the world. It went down because a lot of players left Italy.
“And now, him [Ronaldo] coming there, I think it’s fantastic for Italian football and Juventus. I’ve played there, it’s one of the best clubs in the world.
“He’s in the right place if he wants to play in Italy, so I’m happy for Italian football and especially Juventus because they’re doing big things.”
This is not the first time when Zlatan was related with something he didn’t say, though. The ghostwriter of Zlatan’s autobiography, ‘I am Zlatan’, has admitted that most of the quotes he added to the book were fake.