The England captain has been the centre of attention after being photographed intoxicated, but his Manchester United team-mate has offered his support.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has slammed the media for showing “a lack of respect” to Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney after he was photographed intoxicated on international duty.
Rooney was snapped looking worse for wear as he reportedly crashed a wedding at England’s team hotel in Hertfordshire between the recent international matches against Scotland and Spain.
Sections of the media claimed Rooney’s role as England captain was in jeopardy as a result of reportedly being drunk, with interim manager Gareth Southgate apparently disappointed by the striker’s conduct.
However, the Football Association confirmed that Rooney had the night off and Ibrahimovic was not impressed with the media circus surrounding the situation.
Ibrahimovic told BT Sport: “People talk, people write; I mean I really don’t know what has happened and I’m 100 per cent sure the media doesn’t really know the real story.
“He is a public person; he is a captain for the national team, for the club and people want to write about him.
“I think there is a lack of respect and just pushing out everything instead of appreciating him for who he is and what he has done, so I think the situation is exaggerated.
“I have the same thing when it comes to me.”
Ibrahimovic has also received significant attention in recent weeks, but rather for his struggles on the pitch, with a double in the 3-1 win over Swansea City on November 6 ending a run of six consecutive matches across all competitions without a goal.
“I’m not worried about the goals,” he insisted. “I would be worried if I don’t create the chances or if I don’t have the chances because that is the moment you feel like you’re not able to do what you’re used to, but the goals will come.
“I have more than 450 goals in my career so that is the last thing I’m worried about.”
Feyenoord at home in the Europa League on Thursday is next for United and, while Ibrahimovic is adamant the club belong in the Champions League, he cheekily suggested that he still has room on his mantelpiece for a medal from Europe’s second-tier competition.
“I want to win everything I play for,” he added. “When I go in training I don’t accept to lose, I don’t like to lose; I’ll do everything to win.
“We play in the Europa League, I think the team belongs in the Champions League but it is what it is, and we will do everything to win it.
“I have a lot of medals, a lot, and I want more. You know what, I have a very big house – there I keep them [the medals]. That [the Europa League] would fit very good, there is also a place for that trophy.”