The Swedish striker, who scored 29 goals in 53 appearances during a 21-month spell at Manchester United, told the Daily Mirror that he had the chance to join his future club’s city rivals at the start of the decade.
Ibrahimovic was unhappy at Barcelona after falling out with manager Pep Guardiola, and big-spending Manchester City wanted to sign him as a strike partner for Carlos Tevez.
But the 37-year-old, who is currently playing for LA Galaxy in MLS, opted to join Milan on loan instead because he felt the City move was too much of a risk.
“I had the chance to go to Manchester City when I was at Barcelona but after that moment in Barcelona, I needed to find happiness,” he said.
“Going back to Italy, I was happy in Italy and I knew I would be happy if I go back. I didn’t know if I would be happy if I go to City because it’s a different challenge.
“It would have been a new club, which Milan also was. But I knew the city because I had three years at Inter, I knew the country, so I took a little bit of a safe card.”
Ibrahimovic joined Milan on a permanent basis in 2011, and went on to spend four years at PSG before signing for Manchester United in 2016.