Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic dismissed suggestions that he was a “bad boy” on Friday as he prepared to make his English Premier League debut at the age of 34.
The Swede completed a high-profile move to United from Paris St Germain in June and, while his arrival is hotly anticipated, he is keen to ensure that his reputation doesn’t precede him.
Ibrahimovic’s career has been littered with bans for violent conduct and well-document incidents in which he has fallen out with team-mates.
The forward left a trail of outrageous quotes behind him during successful spells in Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands and has often been ridiculed by the media for proclamations about his own brilliance.
“People say I’m a bad boy, I’m this and I’m that,” Ibrahimovic, whose side visit Bournemouth on Sunday, told Sky Sports.
“I’m a family guy, but when I come on the pitch, I am a lion.”
“I don’t believe that I’m arrogant in the way people think,” he added. “I’m confident, I believe in myself, that’s not being arrogant.
“I believe it’s an individual strength in a human being. I have a vision and I work hard for it.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said his team wanted to keep Ibrahimovic out of the limelight.
“He’s a real talent, it’s great to see him here, but we don’t want to be in awe of him, we want to keep him quiet,” Howe told reporters.