Ryan Giggs sarcastically suggested Zlatan Ibrahimovic might know Manchester United better than he and his Class of 92 team-mates in response to the enigmatic Swede claiming they are a negative influence on their former club.
Ibrahimovic played for United for a season-and-a-half under Jose Mourinho before joining LA Galaxy 12 months ago.
The 37-year-old claimed Mourinho and United midfielder Paul Pogba were among those hindered by a desire to hark back to the glory days under Alex Ferguson, who stepped down after winning a 13th league title in 2012-13.
Ibrahimovic reserved particular criticism for the likes of Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville and their negative takes on the Mourinho era while working as media pundits, labelling them “the Circle of Ferguson”.
Wales manager Giggs, who is United’s all-time record appearance maker, offered a withering response at a news conference on Tuesday.
“Only Nicky [Butt] is connected with the club now but when you play over 2,000 games between us, we are going to have an opinion,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes negative, but I don’t think that has any bearing on results or anything.
“We’re supporters, like other former players in the media. That’s what football is about, having different opinions. But he [Ibrahimovic] obviously knows more about the club than us.”
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 19, 2019
Giggs starred in the United team that famously won the treble in 1999, collecting the Champions League and FA Cup alongside the Premier League title.
Neighbours Manchester City remain in contention for all of those honours this time around, having already retained the EFL Cup via a penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea.
“I’ve got enough to worry about, please don’t bring that up,” Giggs chuckled.
“They’re a fantastic team, aren’t they? They’ve already got one and United going out of the FA Cup makes it a little bit easier for them.
“They’ve got a long way to go but just like us in the treble season, you need a lot of things to go for you.
“That bit of luck, which they had at the weekend [in a 3-2 comeback win over Swansea City in the FA Cup quarter-finals]. But they are a brilliant team. It will be interesting to see what they can achieve.”