Zlatan Ibrahimovic has expressed his joy at securing a return to AC Milan during his first official press conference.
The Rossoneri announced the news of the Swede’s return via a statement on their official website, with Ibrahimovic having put pen to paper on a deal which will run until the end of the season, with the option for a 12-month extension based on certain objectives.
He arrived in Milano on Thursday to complete the formalities of his move to the Rossoneri, undergoing a medical at La Madonnina clinic earlier in the day before enduring more fitness tests and eventually signing his contract at Casa Milan.
He then travelled to Milanello to meet Stefano Pioli who he spoke to for around 45 minutes, as per MilanNews.it, and although he was too late to join training with his new team-mates he underwent a voluntary unscheduled individual training session.
He began by addressing the reaction of the fans to his arrival.
“I feel their enthusiasm. I have a great relationship with them, very positive. The support of the fans is important, if we can have it, things are easier to do. I am ready and I hope to play today.
“After the last game with LA Galaxy, Maldini called me and we talked a bit. I had a lot of offers. I was looking for the adrenaline. I also talked a lot with Boban. It wasn’t a difficult decision.
“I didn’t want to leave Milan in 2012, I did not agree. The important thing is that now I am here again, he will do everything to improve things. Milan is my home, I love this club.”
On the season ahead: “Let’s think about one game at a time, then let’s see what will happen. This team can do more, it has quality. The season is long, we have to work hard and always believe in it. We have to improve things on the pitch, that’s why I’m here.
“I have never lost my passion for what I do. Milan is always Milan, history does not change. The team is not the same as before, but many things have happened after Berlusconi’s farewell.
“I am a footballer, I only have to think about what happens on the pitch. I am always positive, if I didn’t believe in this project I would not have come back.
“Every year is different, physically it changes every year that passes. Mentally not, I don’t think so. Then the experience leads you to do different things, if you are an intelligent footballer you know what you can and cannot do. I have to do my best to do the possible for the team.”
What does Ibrahimovic think of the current team?
“Difficult to answer, if you are not inside you don’t know how things are. Many things have changed in recent years, but for Milan it is always Milan.
“I will always be myself. My team-mates know how I am, how I train and how I play games. You have to work hard and hard, know how to suffer, who does not know how to suffer cannot make the most of it.
“I expect a lot from my teammates, even more than they have. The important thing is to always give your best, then you will see what happens.
“After the injury, I said that I was very happy to be able to go back to playing. As long as I can play, I will do it. I have great desire, with spirit and mentality you can still play at high levels. Clearly I cannot play as when I was 28 years, but I know what I can do.
“We can and must do more. At Milan the pressure is very high, everyone expects great results. If you play for Milan, it’s not because you were lucky, but you’re here to make great results.
“I want to help Milan improve and personally I want to have fun on the pitch. I want to enjoy being on the field, when I was out I missed it a lot.
“I’m fine, I’ve trained a lot. I haven’t touched the ball, but it’s not a problem. I’m ready to play. Nobody at 38 signed for a club like Milan. If I signed up for a club like this, it’s because I can still give something important, if not they wouldn’t have called me. I can still give a lot on the pitch.”
On the possibility of staying until 2021: “You never know. When you have a good relationship with everyone, it’s a possibility. I always try to do my best.
“If after six months I can give something positive I will go on. I don’t want to stay here just because my name is Ibrahimovic.
“This is the challenge. The challenge is against myself. I need desire and mentality, I want to continue as I have done up to now. I know what I have to do to help Milan.
“When starting a season, the goal is always to win something. I want to do everything to improve the situation and raise the level of the team. I want to help Milan.
“Pioli? Yesterday I spoke to him for a few minutes. He explained some things to me, I told him what I need to do well. We will talk again.
“If I don’t score, I assist or other things to help the team. In football you can’t do things alone. I want to improve my number of goals and assists.”
Why didn’t the return materialise a year ago?
“I had spoken to Leonardo, but I did not feel ready to return. I was fine in Los Angeles.
“I went to America to feel alive after the injury. Now I feel more alive and I am ready to play again in Italy.”
On the derby against Inter: “The derby is always a great game. I’m here and there, it’s a special game. I’ve played many derby games in my career, but the one in Milan is the best. I don’t know how the next derby will go, we’ll see.”