Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has branded Zlatan Ibrahimovic a “legend and a proper character”, highlighting his opinionated personality as an admirable trait.
Klopp recently visited the San Siro for the first time as a manager, with his Liverpool side completing a perfect group-stage record in the Champions League, winning all six of their games, including Tuesday’s 2-1 win over AC Milan.
Fikayo Tomori broke the deadlock at the San Siro, but Klopp’s heavily-rotated side bounced back and secured a 2-1 triumph to consolidate their status as one of just nine teams to complete a flawless group-stage campaign in the competition’s history, with goals from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi completing the turnaround.
Ibrahimovic, by his standards and lofty expectations, had a relatively quiet night on home soil as the current Serie A leaders crashed out of European competition, finishing bottom of Group B, with Atletico Madrid sealing progression and Porto dropping down to the Europa League.
Liverpool’s defence worked well to keep the Swedish legend under lock and key, but Klopp could not help but admire the now 40-year-old, who he has described as a “legend” of the game, and someone whose outspoken temperament makes him a “proper character”.
“Ibrahimovic is a legend, you usually become a legend when you retire, but he is already a legend and still playing at 40!,” Klopp said before the match.
“He’s a proper character, he has his opinion on things and isn’t interested in what other people think. I like that. I hope I won’t like his next 90 minutes though!”
Klopp also spoke about his admiration for the San Siro, lamenting the fact that he had not yet taken charge of a game in Italy’s most iconic venue.
He added: “I am 54 years old it’s my first time at San Siro, it’s a real shame I waited this long. I played Napoli, Juve a couple of times, Roma, but never here.
“It is a really exceptional stadium.”