Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won a libel case in Sweden against a former athletics coach who accused him of doping during his time at Juventus.
Ulf Karlsson, who was the head coach of Sweden’s national athletics team from 2001 to 2004, was fined 24,000 kronor (£2,171) for comments he made during a panel discussion at a sports conference in April 2016. Karlsson said he assumed Ibrahimovic, 34, must have doped in order to bulk up so quickly at Juve.
“Zlatan gained 10 kilos of muscle in six months at Juventus. That is impossible in such a short time,” Karlsson said.
He made similar comments in an interview with local newspaper Nya Wermlands-Tidning, saying: “I think he was doped. I am convinced.”
However, a district court in Varmland, in west-central Sweden, on Monday convicted Karlsson of libelling the player .
The judge said: “The court’s opinion is that in the context of what was said Ulf Karlsson gave the impression that Zlatan was doping during his time at Juventus.“
However, Karlsson was acquitted over the interview with the newspaper as Swedish law offers more licence for allegations to be made in the written press.
“I’m glad the district court has agreed with me that he should not be convicted for what he has said to a journalist. That’s an important principle,” Karlsson’s attorney Johan Eriksson told public broadcaster SVT.
Ibrahimovic played for Juventus from 2004 to 2006 after leaving Ajax. While there he won two league titles, although both were subsequently revoked in the wake of the Calciopoli scandal.