Zlatan Ibrahimovic had to spend hours honing his shooting skills after he first signed for Juventus, according to Fabio Capello.
The former Sweden captain joined Juve from Ajax in 2004 and spent two seasons in Turin before moving to Inter following the Calciopoli scandal.
Capello, who was head coach of the Bianconeri during Ibrahimovic’s two-year spell, says he wanted to bring him to former club Roma and was delighted when Juve signed him for a relatively modest fee of €16million.
However, it appears the Manchester United striker was far from the finished article when he first went to Serie A.
“When Ibrahimovic arrived at Juventus, he was not good at shooting,” Capello told Sky.
“[Agent] Mino Raiola said to me: ‘Zlatan is really strong; he breaks goalkeepers’ hands’. I said to him: ‘Listen to me: so far, he’s only broken the windows of the gym!’
“Then Ibrahimovic began to train every day to kick and, obviously, as everyone knows, he improved a lot.
“I targeted Ibrahimovic when I was Roma coach. Juventus made an incredible purchase: they bought him for €16million, payable in four payments.
“At Ajax, they decided he would not be a great player. They preferred to keep Mido, who was easier to manage.”
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 5, 2017
Capello left Juve in 2006 for a second spell in charge of Real Madrid and won the LaLiga title in 2006-07.
The 71-year-old, now at Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League, says former Brazil star Ronaldo is the best player he has ever coached in his storied career, but regrets having only worked with him towards the end of his playing days.
“The best player I coached was Ronaldo,” he said. “Unfortunately, I found him at the end of his career, when he weighed 96 kilograms.
“I asked him ‘What was your weight at the 2002 World Cup?’. He told me it was 84 kilos. I replied: ‘Try at least to go back to 88’. Anyway, he was a great player.”
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