Zlatan tired of criticism, says he feels ‘hunted’

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels as if he has played with a target on his back during his time in Major League Soccer, and that he doesn’t get the same treatment as other players in the league.

After being officially warned for an elbow to the side of Mohamed El-Munir’s head during LA Galaxy’s 3-2 win over LAFC, Ibrahimovic wants to be judged on the whole of his resume and not for every minute detail of his game.

“I feel like I am hunted,” Ibrahimovic told ESPN. “But when you are the best, you’re hunted. That I feel a little bit hunted in that way, that is not OK, because I play my game and I need to feel free in my game and not feel after the game people will look at me and look [at the] detail at everything I do.”

As the highest paid player in the league, Ibrahimovic will obviously have eyes on his every move, but he feels the concept of a Disciplinary Committee to punish players after the fact is excessive.

“That is not part of the game,” Ibrahimovic said. “We have a referee, the referee does his thing. If it goes beyond that, I understand, we have this Disciplinary Committee, but [what is] worse than [being] reviewed every game? I’m professional like everybody else. I should get treated like everybody else. If they cannot stop you on the field, that’s it, you cannot do nothing about it.”

The argument is an odd one from Ibrahimovic, as most leagues around the world have some form of judicial panel meant to apply suspensions and enforce rules that were either missed on the field or require further, more excessive punishment. In the Premier League, where Ibrahimovic played at Manchester United, the FA has a committee to dish out post-match punishment and suspensions.

Still, Ibrahimovic was blunt when it comes to extra punishment off the field. “If you try to do something outside [the field], that for me is not part of the game. That is not professional.”