Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not backing down from his criticism of LeBron James -- reinforcing his belief that athletes should stick to sports and stay out of politics!
"Athletes unite the world, politics divide it,” the soccer superstar said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
"Our role is to unite the world by doing what we do best. Athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics."
Ibra -- one of the most famous athletes on the planet -- has been under fire for going after LeBron last week during an interview with Discovery+ in Sweden.
At the time, Zlatan said, "[LeBron] is phenomenal at what he's doing, but I don't like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time."
"Do what you're good at. Do the category you do. I play football because I'm the best at playing football."
"I don't do politics. If I would be a political politician, I would do politics. That is the first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best, because it doesn't look good."
LeBron clapped back in a big way -- saying he'll NEVER just shut up and dribble because he understands his voice can make a real impact for those who aren't being heard ... and feels it's his responsibility to use his platform to make positive change.
Zlatan clearly doesn't feel the same way -- saying athletes can do more for the world by simply providing pure entertainment that will unite people from all walks of life.