Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said he purposely barged into Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta on international duty and explained why he would do it again.
The Sweden striker claims Azpilicueta made comments towards a team-mate, which in his eyes warranted a physical confrontation.
Azpilicueta stayed on the ground in apparent pain but avoided serious injury, while Ibrahimovic is now suspended for the first leg of his nation's upcoming World Cup play-off clash.
- From Pepe to Torreira - The Arsenal players that could leave during the summer transfer window
- 'I'll come back here one day' - Malacia completes Man Utd medical & reveals he knew 'years ago' he'd make transfer move
- The end of Hegerberg's Norway 'nightmares': Why the superstar striker is back at the Euros
- Why Arsenal believe in Jesus: £45m signing the perfect No.9 for Arteta
What happened betweeen Ibrahimovic and Azpilicueta?
Ibrahimovic slammed through the back of the Chelsea man during a set-piece situation on November 14, sending him tumbling to the turf.
What has been said?
"The other day in the national team, I gave a tackle to [Spain’s Azpilicueta]. I did it on purpose," Ibrahimovic admitted to The Guardian. "I’m not ashamed to say it because he did something stupid to my player. Acting big to my player. It was a stupid thing but I would still do it to make him understand: ‘You don’t f*cking do that! You don’t have balls to do it against me. But I will show you what happens if you do it to me.’ That’s why I did it.
“What can he say? He will not say it to me but he will say it to my player – who will do nothing because he’s too nice. It was not a good thing by me, but I would still do it. That’s me. I’m not ashamed to say it.
“It’s not about missing the play-offs. It’s about making the guy understand you don’t take the p*ss out of somebody laying [on the ground]. You don’t attack a dog that doesn’t talk.
"Attack the one able to do something. It’s too easy to pick on my team-mates who are 20 years old and very nice guys. I hope he understands now.”
Sweden's World Cup play-off status
After finishing as runners-up in their UEFA qualifying group, Sweden must navigate a route through the play-offs in order to reach Qatar.
Their opponent will be determined via a draw with an unseeded opponent.
Ibrahimovic will miss out after being shown a yellow card for his foul on Azpilicueta.