Zlatan Ibrahimovic has promised he won’t let his age come in the way of arresting the sliding fortunes of AC Milan, a club he’s returned for his second stint with the Serie A club. Milan are languishing at the 11th position with 21 points having won just six out of 17 games with their manager Marco Giampaolo sacked after just four months, but Ibrahimovic, 38, believes his addition will prove beneficial for the Rossoneri.
“I am here to improve things, I have watched the squad from the outside,” Ibrahimovic said. “Let’s take it one match at a time… there is a lot of quality in the squad. The results are not ‘wow,’ but it’s a marathon not a sprint.”
Two shy of 40, just how much of an impact Ibrahimovic makes, remains to be seen. Ibrahimovic was with Milan from 2010 to 2012 during which he scored 42 goals in 61 league games for the club. Initially joining the club on a season-long loan from Barcelona, Ibrahimovic helped the Rossoneri win the Serie A title in 2010 before signing for them permanently in 2011.
A serious knee injury which he suffered three seasons ago, while playing for Manchester United, casted doubts over his future, but Ibrahimovic emerged out of the setback stronger. He had proved detractors wrong then and he plans on doing it again with a side he had one of his greatest runs.
“Before the injury, I had many thoughts, many [people] told me it would be impossible to come back,” he said. “I worked hard and to the point I can still play now. [It’s] impossible to play like I did 10 years ago, but I know what I need to do: instead of running, I shoot from 40 metres!”
Ibrahimovic left LA Galaxy last month, for whom he scored 52 goals from 56 appearances and was a free agent before coming to Italy after signing a six-month contract. The former Sweden striker explained how the deal came to a fruition and that this time he won’t left things incomplete like he did during the end of his first tenure.
“After my last match with Galaxy, [Milan director Paolo] Maldini called me,” he added. “We spoke about how I was and about normal things,” he said.
“At 38, I had more requests than at 28. I was looking for the adrenaline inside of me, to ensure I get the best out of myself. I spoke to [Milan director Zvonimir] Boban a lot, then a month went by and after [the 5-0 defeat to] Atalanta, there were a lot of phone calls. I wasn’t a difficult decision. In 2012, I left without my say-so, but that was the situation and I couldn’t do anything about it.”