Pietro Mazzara has written about the fascinating background behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival at the club, his sale to PSG and his return.
Ibrahimovic said an emotional goodbye in front of the over 70,000 fans present at San Siro after last night’s game against Hellas Verona, walking out to a guard of honour before taking the microphone to thank the fans and confirm his retirement.
It wasn’t quite the fairytale send-off many had hoped for given he had to watch on from the sidelines due to a calf problem, but it certainly does not take away even one bit from the incredible, illustrious and impressive career the 41-year-old has had in the game.
Mazzara has written his weekly column for MilanNews and he essentially dedicated it to Ibrahimovic, someone that he has gotten to know over the years up until his goodbye last night.
“It wasn’t easy trying to make people understand what was happening around Zlatan Ibrahimovic and what happened yesterday,” he said.
“His farewell to football was a set of elements, small and large, which led God to choose to say enough. Because there have been many pains, there have been many difficulties in recovering from the most recent injuries.
“A few days ago, a WhatsApp message confirmed many things to me, but at the same time it made my blood flow, because it was clear that Ibra would at least leave Milan without taking the field, like Marco van Basten in the summer of 1995.
“And to think that Ibra, if only Milan hadn’t been forced to sell him in 2012, would never have worn the shirts of PSG, Manchester United and LA Galaxy. He would have remained with the Rossoneri forever.
“I clearly remember the evening in which Adriano Galliani made us understand that Ibra had to be sold. Deck 16, MSC Splendida Yacht Club. Early evening sailing from Genoa to Barcelona.
“The boss, with a sad but aware look, tells us that he is selling Thiago Silva to PSG for budgetary reasons and that his presence at Roland Garros next to Leonardo was anything but casual.
“But he adds: ‘They must also take Ibra to put things right’. We all disappear to our cabins to re-type pieces. Ibra tried not to go to PSG, with a series of absurd requests to blow up the deal, but Nasser Al-Khelaifi accepted everything and Zlatan had to go.
“December 25, 2019, it’s afternoon. The phone lights up and I think it will be the usual forwarded greeting messages. But no. The sender was a significant one and the text was: ‘We bring him home’.
“One of the best Christmases of the last 15 years. These are some of my memories related to Ibrahimovic at Milan like when in the summer of 2010 we were the first to discuss his name, amidst the distrust of many more famous colleagues. And yet we were right.”