Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has described former AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a ‘harsh leader’.
The Frenchman also acknowledged that certain former teammates at Manchester United found it challenging to cope with Ibrahimovic’s criticism.
Pogba and Ibrahimovic were once colleagues during their shared tenure at Manchester United.
Pogba shared his perspective with Al Jazeera, stating, “I believe there are various types of leaders. Zlatan is a leader who is tough and assertive. In my case, I’m comfortable with it; he could say, ‘You performed poorly yesterday, what were you thinking? Go train today.’
“So, he is a leader. He desires victory, but he expresses it in a tough manner, which I appreciate. Some people appreciate it, while others do not. He can elevate certain individuals, but he can also have a detrimental effect on others. Dealing with Zlatan requires a strong mental resolve. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a [Michael] Jordan style, I would say.”
Pogba expanded on his observations, stating, “Patrice Evra, who served as a leader both in the national team and at Manchester, has a completely different approach. He engages with you in a friendly manner, occasionally delivering strong messages, but not consistently. There are leaders who are not very vocal but consistently demonstrate their leadership on the field. An example I can offer from my experience here in Italy is [Andrea] Pirlo.
“Pirlo was a leader. On the field, he displayed strong leadership qualities. He may not be someone who speaks extensively in the locker room, but his presence on the field instilled confidence and trust in his teammates. He embodied a distinct style of leadership.”
Ibrahimovic recently concluded his professional football career at the age of 41. The former Swedish international also represented prominent clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and Ajax prior to retiring.