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Ibrahimovic thanks Juventus for making him a machine in football

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes he “became a machine” at Juventus, thanks to Fabio Capello’s constant shooting drills.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes he “became a machine” at Juventus, thanks to Fabio Capello’s constant shooting drills.

The Swedish striker joined the Bianconeri from Ajax in 2004 but was initially known more for his showboating than goalscoring.

“At the beginning, where I grew up it was not about scoring goals, it was about who had the best skills, the best technique and I brought that with me wherever I went,” Ibrahimovic told BBC Sport.

“That changed when I came to Juventus. I think. I was at Ajax, playing beautiful. I had the pressure, but where it was all about goals was in Italy, with Capello.

“Everything was new for me. Juventus was like, ‘Wow, big club, big players, big Coach, big history. Italian football, Serie A. Wow’.

“That was when Italian football was at the top, and I knew to stay here I had to work hard. But I felt I was there for a reason, I’m here because I’m good.

“From the first day after training I heard Fabio Capello scream ‘Ibra!’ – that was where the nickname came from. [Luciano] Moggi didn’t know how to pronounce my name so it was just ‘Ibra…ee… Ibra!’. Then everyone started to call me Ibra.

“And he just pointed toward his assistant, the old man Italo. He had already taken guys from the academy and youth team and I trained with them. They gave crosses and I scored, every day for 30 minutes.

“Sometimes I just wanted to go home because I was tired and did not want to shoot anymore – I didn’t want to see the goal or the goalkeeper.

“I would try to go home before everyone else and I’d just hear ‘Ibra!’ and I knew immediately what it was. I was shooting, just shooting, good shots, bad shots.

“In the end, I became a machine – in front of goal, score a goal – especially in Italy, whereas a striker it’s the most difficult position because they are so tactically good, and at that time you had all these world class defenders.

“I remember a game against Milan defenders Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta.

“You don’t get a chance, maybe you only get a half chance and behind them you have Dida and you have a world-class goalkeeper, but I had that luck that I had [Gianluigi] Buffon as a training partner and in front of him was [Lilian] Thuram and [Fabio] Cannavaro.

“You don’t go past them feeling good, if you go past them you’ll have pain everywhere. Then you need the strength to score, but you have Buffon to pass. So I had a good environment to train that skill to score goals and the goals would come as long as you trained.”

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