Capello discusses Ibrahimovic’s new role at great length: “I have just one doubt”

By Isak Möller -

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to have a lot more power at AC Milan moving forward, as an Operating Partner of RedBird, and a lot of fans are curious to see what will happen. The legendary manager Fabio Capello has now shared his thoughts on the matter. 

Capello knows Ibrahimovic very well from his time as the head coach of Juventus. The manager was certainly an important figure in the Swede’s development, as the latter has admitted himself, and he’s thus perfect to answer some questions about the new role.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport (see photo below), which was published this morning, Capello shared his thoughts on Ibrahimovic’s new role. He praised the Swede for being ‘intelligent’ and more, but also revealed that he has one doubt.

Capello, Zlatan’s professional life enters a new phase. Will he be able to be the usual Ibra?

“He will experience great responsibilities. If before he limited himself to making his voice heard in a technical context, in the future he will have to do it in all areas. He will take care of everything, he will be a 360-degree reference.

“And, I repeat, he will have a lot more responsibility. Difficult decisions await. Cardinale said he’s not happy with how things are going, so now it will be up to Ibra to suggest solutions. This won’t be easy.”

He doesn’t lack character, but he does lack experience in this sector…

“Zlatan is a proud and intelligent boy, let’s start from this assumption. I don’t think he throws himself into something that he doesn’t know as well. He will need to gain experience. And considering the circumstances, he will have to do it quickly. Cardinale’s words were very clear and decisive: Ibra is his right-hand man in Milan, he’s the one who will have power over the most important decisions.”

How do you think he will take on this challenge?

“He has been entrusted with an important and demanding role, I believe that in that sense, he will be proud of the assignment. But especially since I know him, I know that he will put his head down and work to learn everything quickly.”

Cardinale wants Ibrahimovic to be the voice of the ownership in the locker room. Will Pioli be happy with this?

“I don’t know if he will be happy, but Stefano knows better than anyone that beyond words or roles, this job is about results. The words of those in charge must be listened to, obviously, but in the end the victories on the field are worth more than anything. At the end of the season, he will only look at the standings and the results in the tournaments, the rest is philosophies.”

Could Pioli be overshadowed by Ibra?

“From this point of view, Zlatan has been following the team for some time now. And in any case, the same thing happened with Maldini and Massara, they were part of the team and Pioli could take advantage of their experience. Ibra will not speak for the coach, he would never allow himself to do so.

“Again, he’s a smart guy who knows how to behave. He will know how to handle the power that has been given to him. The opposite would mean completely delegitimizing the coach. If this happened, the players would immediately feel the lack of leadership that Pioli deserves. But I know that won’t happen.”

Does the same apply to players? Will they find their usual point of reference in Ibra or do they risk being less of a protagonist?

“Players put in the background? No, I don’t see it in that way. His relationship with the team won’t change much after Cardinale’s words. If anything, the perception of those who, from now on, will have to relate to him as a point of reference in other areas of the club will change. If before Ibrahimovic was just a man on the field, today the crown has been placed on his head.”

In which direction do you think he will go with the important decisions?

“I repeat, with the new role he will have to decide on everything, but I know that he will not be instinctive. When choosing a possible new coach, the pros and cons must be considered: the type of team you make available to him, the resources you have and the objectives you set yourself. Today it is difficult to say.”

So, will everything go smoothly?

“I have just one doubt. The thing I would like to know is whether he will also be able to be diplomatic. And I’m not just talking about public statements. I think about the relationships he will have to maintain in private. In all situations…”

The first thing on the agenda for Ibrahimovic will likely be to help decide the manager for next season. Or at least that will be the first big decision, because Stefano Pioli is expected to part ways with the club after almost five years.

Tags AC Milan Fabio Capello Zlatan Ibrahimovic


  1. So Cardinale sacked Maldini to replace him with another guy to learn on the job and then give the new guy even more power?

    Makes perfect sense.

    Does anyone still think removing Maldini had anything to do with his performance and ability?

    1. Facts. The only way I can explain it is that Cardinale sees Ibra has more followers on social media than Maldini and mistakes that with competence. Dude hated Maldini’s shine and aura from the get go, so he booted him when clearly the success despite the budget spoke for itself. And it irks them that they may never be as successful based on their approach. Let be real real! Hired Ibra as a pet with obviously less presence as Maldini if anyone remotely understands the history of the club. Only because he isn’t able to talk to the players in the locker room !?!?! Ibra go do that dirty work that I can’t do and have no credibility.
      Who knows Milan better? Oh please. Maldini duh. Or any of the other legends, Baresi, Billy, Seedorf, Sheva, Kaka just to name a few.
      He loves yes men and sadly Ibra looks uncomfortable in his role based on body language in that last interview they did together. He can fool.other people. He ain’t fooling me. Ibra, and I love him as a Milan legend too and still want him to succeed (would have been great to see him and Maldini working together), is a flag bearer for many teams. Maldini is a flag bearer of one. There’s a difference. And the only other difference between Maldini and Ibra is Ibra appeals to a younger generation.
      Just remember “Every purchase was approved by the CEO and ownership… Many meetings were needed for Ibrahimovic”. The irony!

    2. Chemistry. If the owner doesn’t think someone fits the team, he has the right to replace him. That’s how it goes in the business world AND in the sports world. Like it or not.

  2. Firing Gazidis,Maldini and the partner to Maldini has always and always will be a mistake.

    Let’s move on with Ibra and hope and wish him well under the tutelage of Cardinale.

    Forza Milan,the only worry for me is the mountain of debt that signor Cardinale has burdened the club with.

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