EPL

Ibrahimovic: Conte being made to pay by Spurs for being himself

By Sports Desk March 25, 2023

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Antonio Conte is being made to pay by Tottenham for "being himself".

Conte is widely expected to be sacked in the coming days following his outburst after Spurs let a two-goal lead slip in last weekend's 3-3 Premier League draw at Southampton.

The Italian accused his players of being "selfish" and playing with "no heart", with that draw following swiftly on from Tottenham's FA Cup and Champions League exits.

But Ibrahimovic, who has never previously played under Conte, has defended the multi-title-winning coach for speaking his mind in public.

"Every single person works in his own way. Somebody tries to be an actor, pretend. Somebody is being himself, somebody is trying to be perfect," he told Sky Sports.

"I believe in being yourself, and sometimes you pay for it because that's not what the people want to hear. 

"I prefer to be myself and express myself like I think and the way I want. We all work in our own way."

Conte has spent the past week in Italy, and his future is likely to be decided by the middle of next week at the latest when Tottenham's international players return to training.

Milan veteran Ibrahimovic is himself away on international duty with Sweden and was introduced as a second-half substitute in Friday's 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifying loss to Belgium.

Sweden's oldest player at the age of 41 years and five months, Ibrahimovic has no plans to call time on his career just yet.

"I want to continue playing football," said Ibrahimovic, who has played four times for Milan since returning from a long-term injury lay-off last month. 

"If I feel good, this is my priority, and I feel very good at Milan. If they want me to keep me then I'm happy. I'm available."

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