By 90Min
December 01, 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has opened up about the lengths his father went to in an effort to give him the best chance of playing professional football.

The veteran Manchester United striker told Sky Sports (via Calciomercato) that life as a boy growing up in Sweden was difficult for him, but his dad's desire to give his son a better life gave him the incentive to make the most of his football opportunities.

Ibrahimovic has enjoyed a lengthy career with countless titles racked up, and he offered up one story about just how far his father went to allow him the chance to try and pursue his footballing dream.

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The 36-year-old said: "I was raised with my father, he worked a lot to allow us to live. Our refrigerator was never full, we did not have a lot to eat. 

"For example when we were going to go to Germany to play in a youth tournament with Malmö's youth team I had to ask him for 3000 crowns. He let me go so instead he didn't pay rent for a month and he send me to go play in this tournament because he did everything for me."

Born in Sweden to parents originally from Bosnia, Ibrahimovic also suffered from racism and prejudice during his days as a youngster both on and off the pitch.

The ex-Sweden captain went on to explain how he managed to get his big break with Malmo FF following their relegation to the second tier - a move that proved to be the making of the towering goalscorer.

He explained: "When I first arrived in Malmö I was not accepted by my team mates and by the environment because I had a foreign name.

"Then the team was relegated to the second division and many players left. The club had to start using the younger players, who were all very strong, because we had won a lot in the Swedish youth tournaments. 

"I was not a starter, I came off the bench but I was still not welcome or accepted. Then a coach named Roland Andersson came and the club told me one day after a match I played with the U-20 team that the first team coach wanted to see me train with them the next day. 

"I thought I had done something bad instead he said 'enough playing with the youngsters now you have to play with the big boys.' Finally I found a person who believed in me. So I took the chance I was given and I came to dominate completely."

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