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Soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic critical of Lakers star LeBron James' social activism

Jim Reineking
·2 min read
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Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn't afraid to say whatever is on his mind.

He is, after all, the man who took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times to say "Dear Los Angeles, You're welcome" after signing with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

In a recent interview, the current AC Milan star essentially told Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James to "stick to sports" and was critical of athletes' social activism.

"What (LeBron) does is phenomenal, but I don't like it when people with a certain status talk about politics," Ibrahimovic told UEFA for Discovery+ in Sweden. "Do what you are good at. I play football because I am the best at it. If I was a politician, I'd have gone into politics.

"This is the first mistake that famous people make when they feel like they've arrived. I think it's better to steer clear of these issues and do what you're good at."

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James has never been shy of his criticism of former President Donald Trump for his divisive rhetoric, and publicly expressed his support of the presidential candidacy of Joe Biden. In June, James helped form "More Than a Vote," which focused on improving voter turnout and reducing voter suppression in the Black community. In January, James said "it would be great" to visit President Joe Biden at the White House to celebrate the Lakers' 2019-20 season championship. Trump never hosted an NBA champion during his four years in office.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 14 goals in 13 Serie A appearances for AC Milan this season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 14 goals in 13 Serie A appearances for AC Milan this season.

Ibrahimovic spent two years playing professional soccer in the United States, scoring two of the greatest goals in MLS history during his time with the Galaxy. In December 2019, Ibrahimovic joined AC Milan, and his goal-scoring prowess has the squad in contention for the Serie A title.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeBron James criticized by Zlatan Ibrahimovic for discussing politics