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Ibrahimovic statements on women’s football - are they as bad as they seem or were they corrupted by media?
Sweden and PSG forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has caused quite the controversy the last few days, both in Sweden and in other countries, after being quoted as saying “I got a question over the summer who is the best, myself or Lotta Schelin. You’re joking with me, right?“ and that “When I go to Europe they compare me with Messi and Ronaldo. When I come home they compare me with a women’s player. Should I have to be ashamed of being a Swedish football player?”. 
The statements have rightly been criticized, and I was myself bothered by his words. However, after taking Ibrahimovic’s own advice today and reading the interview as a whole, and not just reprinted extracts, I believe that the situation has been corrupted. Ibrahimovic does not in fact seem to intend to insult Lotta Schelin, the Swedish women’s national team or women’s football as a whole, and if you will bare with me I am going to explain why. 
In the interview, Ibrahimovic talks about the unfairness that he feels that recently retired men’s national team player Anders Svensson has suffered the last couple of months. At the Swedish Football Awards this year, Svensson was given a car by the Swedish Football Federation for being the most capped male player of all time. Many reacted badly to this as Therese Sjögran, the woman with the most caps, was not given anything. What Ibrahimovic really feels that she deserves is unknown (although he did make a bad joke and say that he can give her a bike, referring to another part of the recent debate about the fact that the women’s national team does not bring in any money, but rather spends what the men’s national team makes), but in the recent interview in Expressen he only spoke about women’s football because he felt that Svensson’s achievement has been diminished as all of the talk has been about how unfair the situation was. He says “a black shadow has been cast on all of what he has done because of a car!”. 
Ibrahimovic continues to say that “With all respect for what the women do, they have done it fantastically well, but you cannot compare men’s football with women’s football. Quit it, it’s not even funny.” The journalist adds that the women footballers often say themselves that one should not compare, and Ibrahimovic quickly says “Yes, but who is it that is comparing? Is it the women or the media? In my case it is the media (…) I got a question over the summer who is the best, myself or Lotta Schelin. You’re joking with me, right?” 
At first glance, Ibrahimovic may seem to be insulting Schelin, but if one looks at the conversation as a whole, it is quite obvious that he is talking about the media. It is a joke that Swedish media is constantly trying to compare him with Lotta Schelin, when women’s and men’s football should not be compared. It is not a joke because Schelin is not every bit as good within her section of the sport as he is. 
Today, Ibrahimovic has defended his own statements, saying exactly that – his criticism was directed towards the media, and not towards women’s football. He also says that “The bike was a joke, a bad one, between myself and the journalist, and I assumed that he understood that it was a joke. In print it was not quite as funny. It was not my intent to step on anyone’s toes.” and “Women’s football has my full respect and they have delivered fantastic results. I have not in any way badmouthed the women’s national team. If anyone is saying anything else, please read the interview in full.”
As I said above, I took his advice and read the interview, and I can now understand why he said most of what he did. Some of his statements were still inappropriate and badly thought through, and some of it is still insulting, but the core appears to be that he wants the media to stop comparing the women with the men, which is what both the women’s players, myself and most women’s football fans want, is it not? One can wonder why he is so upset about “cargate” as it has been called for seemingly the wrong reasons - he should be as upset as everyone else that Sjögran was not acknowledged - but apart from that aspect, were his statements as insulting as they first appeared, or does he have a badly expressed point? What do you think?
Anonymous: Anyone who puts down another person to make themselves look better is a bully. Zlatan is a bully. Also, you don't demand recognition. Especially not in Sweden where the media are constantly kissing his ass.

if i should be honest, i think this whole thing has been a misunderstanding. And zlatan has also gone out in the media and apoligized and said that is was just a joke between him and the journalist, but apparently he didnt understand that. BUT, i do not defend what zlatan said and i think it was a clumsy statement of the national team’s captain!

Anonymous: I agree that you shouldn't compare womens and mens football. No one compares womens and mens high jump for example. Instead they let the men and women compete on their own terms. The same should be said about football. Zlatans problem is that he came across as an arrogant ass, who thrives on attention. And not for the first time either. I wonder what will happen when he retires and will no longer get that attention.

yeah that exactly what i mean. in no other sport they compares womens and mens perfomance. it is so stupid, get over it!!
but i have to disagree with you about zlatan being an arrogant ass. i mean he came from the slums and became one of the best in the world. he has worked his ass of to get where he is today, and there has not been as easy journey for him. What zlatan said stands for himself, and what his problem is that he does not think before he talks, he does not think about the consequences. I admire zlatan for what he does on the football field, but disagree with his statement :)

Anonymous: what do you think about all this?

I personally think that what zlatan said was completely unnecessary. everything does not have to do with money. i mean last time the men’s team played a championship was like 2006(?) and went out like in eight finals, and last time the won anything was bronze in 1994. and then just look at the womens, they haven’t missed a single championship(i think). and if we just look at the 2000s, the girls have won two bronze and two silver medals, and they had sold out arenas on the home Euros this summer. I think the difference between men and womens football is that women dosent care about what the earn. They care about the sport that they love and most of all to win. Successes and medals is something people remember, few will remember who fancy cars the players had, or who paid whose travels.

Anonymous: so am not swedish and have no idea what all this about zlatan and seger are about. can you please explain was it is about?

seriously, i haven’t read everything but what i know it started on the swedish football gala when Andreas Svensson(plays in the swedish national team) got a car for most played games when Therese Sjögran who has like 40 caps more didnt get one. Most thought it was wrong and thought Sjögran should also get a car but didnt. And now have Zlatan gone out into the media and said alot of stuff about it. He says that the ladies have made it fantastic good, but you cant compare men’s and women’s football. Its like a bad joke that does not even go home in Rosengård(where he grew up). And they also say alot about that women’s football is a huge finanical loss and that it is the men’s football that brings in lot of money that makes women’s and youth national temas can go on their travels. what everyone reacted to i think was that Zlatan said that instead of getting a car Sjögran can get a bike with his autograph because it would be equal with money what the women’s team draws in. And caroline seger just answered…I think i got the most, but as i said I have not read so  much about this, so there may be things I have misunderstood… (sorry if there are som grammatical errors, english is not my first language) :)

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English version of caroline segers text on instagram about Zlatans pronunciation on women’s football