Capello insists Ibrahimovic must ‘commit, study, understand, learn’ to adapt to Milan role

By Oliver Fisher -

Former AC Milan head coach Fabio Capello has stated that Zlatan Ibrahimovic must remain humble after returning to the club and that his role has to be defined so as not to interfere with Stefano Pioli’s work.

During a statement yesterday it was confirmed that Ibrahimovic has taken on a new role after retiring from football back in June, one that will see him work not only with Milan but also with RedBird and their many business interests.

There has been a lot of speculation about his return over the past couple of months and exactly what capacity it would be in, given that the Swede does not have coaching badges or the qualifications to be a senior director.

Capello spoke during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport about Ibrahimovic going back to Milan, giving his thoughts on all aspects from off-field tasks to potential on-field impact.

Capello, does having been a great champion as a player help you become a great manager?

“They are two paths that are too different, there is no automatic consequence. If before Ibra chose the best for himself, by working as a group he must be able to make some compromises, without selfishness.

“‘It’s just done like this’ can only be said by those in charge really, and that is the owner of the club. And many aspects influence certain decisions, some of which will be new to him: taking budgets into account, for example.”

What is your advice this time?

“He will have to maintain his personality and the courage to take on responsibilities. In this he must not change. But also use the intelligence he has to know how to adapt to the role. Know where and when to intervene to do the good of everyone, opening up to discussion.”

As Milan coach, would you be happy to find Zlatan again as a ‘Senior Advisor’?

“Ibra is certainly a big figure, positive as a player for Milan and for Pioli himself, the results have clearly demonstrated this. Today, however, reality changes quite a lot. If the question is: ‘Will Pioli feel less alone with him?’.

“The answer may be yes, especially if the boundaries are well defined beyond all the diplomacy that accompanied his return. Likewise, it is the aspect that worries me most: a figure who can relate to the team does not obscure the leadership of the coach towards the group?

“After the departure of Maldini and Massara, does the ownership believe that Pioli performed less well and that for this reason he needs a ‘collaborator’? A coach needs to maintain total credibility towards his interlocutors.”

Ibra will have much broader powers than a simple motivator, as has happened in the last period: what does it take to establish himself in the new role?

“Everything. I remember that Berlusconi made me attend courses in management, psychology and more: I will never stop thanking him for this, they were all important moments of training. Zlatan no longer has the ball between his feet, he must learn to influence another way and for this reason it will take time for him too, a sort of apprenticeship period.

“But Ibra himself will have to commit, study, understand, learn what to do. Between being part of a locker room and not being part of it but still having a say there is a big difference and Ibra, I repeat, will have to be intelligent in managing the new role.”

He will also have different responsibilities: previously only on the field, today no longer…

“Fortunately, he has never been afraid of responsibilities. Of course, if he participates in technical choices at management level he could also end up among the ‘defendants’ together with the club. But first of all it is necessary to clarify the relationship with the coach, and above all how Ibrahimovic will fit into the relationship between Pioli and the team.”


Tags AC Milan Fabio Capello Zlatan Ibrahimovic


  1. Best case scenario, Zlatan can invest his money into the NY Yankees and speak to Chukwueze so he instantly becomes the new Mbappé. Worst case scenario, Zlatan brings a catalogue of players from his close friend Raiola and it won’t be the best ones because sustainability.

      1. I know Rafaela Pimenta runs the agency and I guess Zlatan also knows well Mino’s son Mario, who is an entrepreneur like Zlatan with many tags attached to wtf his job is. Next summer I can foresee the signings of Dollarumma to replace traitor/money lover Maignan who will be sold, then Pogba as a big opportunity for the brand A.C. Milan to attract Instagram followers.

        1. “Next summer I can foresee the signings of Dollarumma to replace traitor/money lover Maignan”

          And I don’t have to foresee anything or wait until the summer to say you couldn’t be more wrong. You must have claimed the title for the most negative person on this website recently. All I see is “b*tch, b*tch, b*tch, whine, whine, whine…”

          1. Wow sorry friend, I just enjoy the All Day Comedy Show with host Jerry but yeah maybe I’m a bit demonstrative, I’ll try to keep it low key.

            As for Dollarumma, he’s not a Mendes guy, who is now almost the PSG official agent thanks to close friend Luis Campos, PSG’s sporting director. He never was a fan favorite also, and every year French media fantasise his leaving. If we sell Maignan, because of how much he asks for and also because Furlani said we’ll probably sell players, we’ll need a goalkeeper. Zlatan is close to Pimenta, Dollarumma’s agent. This is how it works in football now, network. Furlani said yesterday that the club will enjoy Zlatan’s network. I can see a nice PR story of redemption with Dollarumma the prodigal son coming back home.

        2. nah Dollar will ask for 2 much mone.. You know, might as well renew Mike for 8. If they wanna insta beast Marcelo will be free in decmber and just so happens Milan is short on lb.. 😀

  2. Zlatan: I don’t adapt to role, the role adapt to me.

    Zlatan: I don’t listen to Cardinale, Cardinale listen to me. I’m the advisor.

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