The turnaround since Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Milan return are staggering. On Wednesday night things will come full circle in a way as the Rossoneri face Sampdoria, the team the Swede made his second debut against.
It was a lacklustre 0-0 drew at San Siro earlier in the season that compounded a difficult first half of the season, but it was the beginning of the Ibra-branded revolution.
After the win over Juventus a few weeks back, Ibrahimovic caused a stir when he remarked: “If I had been here from the beginning, we would have won the Scudetto. And if I stay next year, we will fight for the title.”
There were strong words, full of determination and enthusiasm, from a man who at the age of 38 wants to fight for everything possible and will just every ounce of energy in his ageing body to do so.
As Calciomercato.com notes, the numbers speak for themselves. There has been 19 games since his arrival, 16 games he played (14 starts) and three he missed due to injury. The table reads 11 wins, 6 draws and 2 defeats, with 40 goals scored and 21 conceded.
An average of 2.052 points per game, totally different from that of 1.23 in the pre-Ibra period, in which Milan had won six, drew three and lost eight, scoring 16 goals and conceding 24.
Ibrahimovic has been able to raise the levels of those around him, from Rebic to Leao, from Calhanoglu to Saelemaekers, even Conti and Kessie. Pioli knows it, Maldini knows it and now the ownership seem to recognise it too: Ibra must remain.