'I need more haters' - 'very angry' Ibrahimovic reveals motivation

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The 36-year-old continues to defy his critics, but admits he needs their negativity to motivate him to keep scoring

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he is always looking for more of his "haters" because their criticism has been the driving force behind his success.

The enigmatic striker has courted controversy throughout his career and his lack of a Champions League winners' medal has long been held against him despite turning out for the likes of Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Juventus, Inter, AC Milan and Ajax.

Although the LA Galaxy star has attracted millions of fans along his travels, he pays more attention to those who doubt him because they provide the motivation to keep going.

“I need to be angry. I need to be very angry," the 36-year-old told  ESPN Body Issue .  

"Then I bring out my [moves] that you will not expect ... in a good way. And I see things that is difficult to describe. I can see holes in the game that I can use. And then I can see the vision, the second and the third step, what will happen, and I predict those things.

“I find the haters [to stay motivated]. I use that to give me energy. That is what I had all my career - I had people that didn't believe in me. I had people who said that I will never make it. They judged me even before I even got a chance.

“But all that I turn around and I made it a driving power for myself. I was driven to do everything better, never be satisfied. That's how I kept on, and I still find those holes where I get that energy. But the problem is, I make my haters become fans. So I need to have more haters."

Now 36 years old, Ibrahimovic is thought to be near the end of his career, though many expected him to call time on it after suffering a knee injury during his time in the Premier League.

But the Swede says his need to defy those around him was crucial in his rehabilitation, backing up his theory that he is football's Benjamin Button .

“[My body] is perfect. I am like the wine: the older, the better," he said. "Age is just a number, it's all in your head, how strong you are, how young you are and how you prepare yourself. I do a lot of training. I prepare very well and I like it because it drives me. It never makes me satisfied because when I feel good, I want to feel better. I'm a workaholic.

“[The injury] was very strange because I never had a major injury. When it happened, I even said to myself: 'I'm not injured', and I tried to walk straight after. There is another player who got injured in the first half - he was carried out. I was walking out because I said I'm not injured. And when I came in, I still said to myself, 'I'm not injured, it's just a small bruise or something'.

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“But something felt different. Then the next day it was swollen, and we did MRI and it showed that everything was off. Then you hear all the comments: It's all over. He will never come back. He will never be the one he is. So now the haters come out.

“And all this gives me energy, all those people that are speaking. So I said: 'I decide when I stop football. I decide how I will finish this story. I will not end this story by injury. I will walk out the way I want to walk out'. When I walk out, I will feel just like when I began to play, powerful and feeling perfect.”

Ibrahimovic has already scored seven times in 11 MLS appearances for LA Galaxy since joining from Manchester United.

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