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The 39-year-old swede performances demands respect.
After Romelu Lukaku secured Inter’s 4-2 win in the Milan Derby in February, the Belgian striker proclaimed,
“There is a new king in the city.”
Before eventually finding himself in the best spot to respond after netting both goals in AC Milan’s 2-1 victory over Inter at San Siro.
He said “Milano never had a king,”, “they have a GOD.”
As he returned to San Siro in January, he cast himself as a savior and has been doing miracles ever since.
He appeared as the most influential character in Serie A at 39.
“In Italy, he has shifted the balance more than Cristiano Ronaldo,” former Milan and Juventus coach Alberto Zaccheroni
“It is no coincidence that many young players have grown exponentially since his arrival.”
Zaccheroni is right. Ronaldo joined a squad that had already won seven Serie A titles in succession;
It is not Ronaldo’s fault that he did not have a big sporting impact on Juventus.
Ibrahimovic has yet to win a trophy in his second stint at Milan but has had a transformative effect on an entire club;
one that has not participated in the Champions League since 2014.
And while his numbers are impressive (12 goals and five assists in Serie A in 2020), it is his influence on the dressing that has been truly incredible.
Milan has the youngest team in the ‘Top Five’ leagues in Europe, and the experience of Ibrahimovic has thus proved invaluable.
Team-mates have lined up to applaud the striker in each and every training session for the way he leads by example.
Zaccheroni, though, is in no doubt which player has had more influence on Serie A.
“I have coached great champions in my career, from [Oliver] Bierhoff to [George] Weah up to Adriano, but the only regret I have is that I never trained Ibrahimovic,” he told Il Giornale.
“He is eternal and I still don’t understand why he never won the Ballon d’Or.
“In Italy, he has shifted the balance more than Ronaldo. It is no coincidence that many young players have grown exponentially since his arrival.
“He doesn’t just score. He transmits confidence to all his team-mates, carrying the team on his shoulders in difficult moments.”
A top-four finish is now a realistic target. Ibrahimovic is even engaging in title talk, which is hardly surprising, of course:
he says they would have won last season’s Scudetto if he has arrived at the start of the campaign rather than halfway through it.
Milan Coach, Pioli, though, is wisely playing down their title prospects at such an early stage of the season, arguing,
“There are currently four or five teams in Serie A that are stronger than us on paper.”
Ibrahimovic may not really be a God, but he and Pioli are proving a match made in heaven in Milan.