Zlatan Ibrahimovic has labelled the Daily Mirror "a joke" after they published an article with quotes that he claims he never gave them.
The Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden striker, 32, has been tearing up Ligue 1 opposition this season, scored a brace of goals as PSG closed on the quarter-finals of the Champions League and has won trophies all across Europe.
But he has never played in England, leading many to wonder how he might have fared in the top flight.
Zlatan—according to Dave Kidd's piece in the Mirror at least—appeared to have answered those questions:
England is a very strong league, with three or four of the best teams in Europe—but, if I had played there, I would have destroyed it, like I have everywhere else.
Arsenal could have happened, as everybody knows—but I would not do a trial. Who do you think regrets that more, Arsene Wenger or Zlatan?
I’m always amused when I am asked about not having tested myself in England.
The last time I faced England, which is supposed to be the best players in the Premier League, what happened?
Maybe people need to be reminded that it was the Zlatan show.
Ibrahimovic, however, has denied saying anything of the sort to the paper. In a tweet he wrote:
I have not talked to any UK journalist or anybody at The Mirror, not the first time this happens.The Mirror is a joke!http://t.co/YpO9tSMMTa— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) February 23, 2014
Should you take Ibrahimovic's denial at his word, it's a strange case. As 101 Great Goals astutely points out: "The beauty of Zlatan Ibrahimovic is that you don't have to make up quotes."
The Mirror have also taken to Twitter to defend their own work, saying that although the quotes were not given to Kidd directly, they came via a reliable source:
Dave Kidd says: We didn't suggest he spoke to us directly & Zlatan doesn't suggest quotes are not his.— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) February 24, 2014
Dave Kidd also says:Quotes are from an interview from a reliable freelance journalist, who has been contacted. Part of a wider TV interview.— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) February 24, 2014
Whether the quotes are true or not, you have to wonder how far they are away from Ibrahimovic's view of the Premier League and his ability to succeed in it. At a guess (full disclosure: no attempt was made to contact Zlatan for this conclusion), not a million miles off the mark.