Zlatan Ibrahimovic champion of Italy with AC Milan: Success of the leader and twilight of the "big brother"

Zlatan Ibrahimovic champion of Italy with AC Milan: Success of the leader and twilight of the “big brother”

There will always be fault with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s career. Including on his contribution to what could be the last title of his long career, namely a new Italian champion crown on Sunday. At 40 and without all his legs, the Swede has still managed to remain influential by becoming less essential. In Milan, Rafael Leão was the man of the season and Olivier Giroud that of the coronation. Difficult, however, not to consider the importance of Zlatan in this return of the Lombard club to the top of Italian football, 11 years later. A time exiled in MLS, where we imagined him to end his career, the former PSG star had made the bet to return to his favorite club.

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When I arrived, a journalist told me that normally returning players can only do worsehe said on DAZN Sunday. I had responded by promising that I would bring Milan back to the Top and that we would win the Scudetto. Some laughed but there, I am champion.”

As soon as he returned to the dressing room, Ibra had shaken up a struggling team and fallen into the soft underbelly of Serie A.”Raise your hands, those who have already played the Champions League“, he had swung to his teammates, according to an anecdote told by Luigi Garlando, journalist of the gazzetta. They were then only two to be able to answer in the affirmative… timidly: Hakan Calhanoglu and Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Ibrahimovic, beacon for his “children”

The Swede didn’t need that anyway to know that AC Milan no longer had the same weapons as when he first played, where he rubbed shoulders with players of international stature, from Pirlo to Ronaldinho, from Seedorf to Inzaghi. So he adapted. “He is the beacon of this teamconfided his trainer Stefano Pioli last April. His will is indomitable.”

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Suffering more and more regularly from the weight of age and an exceptional morphology (1.95m, 95 kg), while a serious knee injury could already have ended his career in 2017, the striker took on a role he didn’t seem compatible with. “I see, when they look at me, they expect something from mehe smiled. I want to give so much, I want to be a guide. They are like my children.”
This is how he greatly helped Rafael Leão to refocus, to whom he had criticized his dilettantism a year and a half ago. The Portuguese learned alongside the Swedish giant and his rigor. “From my first training, Zlatan came to tell me: ‘I will help you, with me you will win. Ask me what you want’the winger recalled in an interview with L’Equipe in February 2020. He’s a big brother to me. Sometimes he gets angry but if someone wants to help you, he won’t always tell you things with a smile.”

head and legs

It pushes even further the requirement“, abounded Olivier Giroud, who nevertheless knew the appetite of the biggest English clubs. First relay of Stefano Pioli, Zlatan also kept an influence on the ground, with 8 goals and 3 assists in 23 Serie A matches.

What make him want to extend the adventure? Not sure, since the will alone might not be enough. “I suffered a lot for this trophyhe confessed. It depends on what will happen in the next few days” More and more physically fragile, the striker also apprehends the life after: “I know that I will have other possibilitieshe pointed out last March. But this adrenaline that I have on the lawn, I won’t find it anywhere else.”

At the end of the contract, Zlatan should quickly discuss with the Milanese discussion. For the first time, without his agent Mino Raiola, who died on April 30, to whom he was extremely close. And to which he dedicated the 34th title of his career: “This is the first trophy I win without him.”

(With AFP)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the Italian champion trophy won with AC Milan, May 22, 2022

Credit: Getty Images

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