GdS: Ibrahimovic and the ideal role at Milan – his four key demands

By Isak Möller -

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is seemingly getting closer to a return but there are still a few things for AC Milan to figure out. The Swede, meanwhile, has made it clear what the role needs to be for him to return. 

Ibrahimovic retired at the end of last season after missing a good chunk of the campaign with injury struggles. Since then, Italian newspapers haven’t stopped talking about his potential comeback and this morning, this was highlighted once again.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (see photo below), Milan are ready to welcome him back to the club. During the visit in September, Ibrahimovic chatted with Pioli and his old teammates, also meeting with the CEO Giorgio Furlani as well as owner Gerry Cardinale. And everyone agrees: his return would be invaluable.

Ibrahimovic has made four demands clear for the return: 1) He wants to be a leader in the locker room and at Milanello. 2) The role cannot be just a front, he wants to have an impact. 3) He wants to continue with his other business commitments as well, finding a good balance. 4) He doesn’t want a say on the mercato.

It remains to be seen if an agreement can be struck. One thing that needs to be ironed out is demand number three, as Milan want him to be as focused as possible on club duties.


Tags AC Milan Zlatan Ibrahimovic


  1. Why is this role being created??? How will it affect future appointments of coaches when pioli eventually leaves (whenever he will leave)? Will top managers allow another figure who is not part of their technical staff to have an important role in the locker room and at training ground? Is our coach and/or our sporting/technical director not adequate??? If they are not, then whats the point of keeping them? What is the real problem at milan currently? How was it created and how is it being worsened?

    A lot of questions, but i hope zlatan’s return will serve all parties well, and wont damage the relationship in the long term, and i hope it is the best solution to fix the current problems for a long time

    1. It’s all to help Pioli because he has demonstrated that he CANNOT handle the pressures of being a coach, AND dealing with players all by himself along with the tactics, formations and the market. Maldini helped him and shielded him with some of that last season. Now he is all on his own and cannot do it. There is no buffer between Pioli and the players or management any longer and he has not shown thus far he can handle it. We are seeing more players rebel and question his decisions publicly (Leao, Giroud, Calabria) and his input on the transfer market (passing on Singo, relying on Kunic, not pushing enough for a true #9 etc..) and his formation/tactics (switching from the 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3; playing the inverted RB/LB system etc…) hasn’t worked as expected. Hence the need for an experienced presence the players and management respect to help Pioli.

      I agree if/when Pioli is fired Ibra may clash with a new coach – but doesn’t seem management is worried too much about or is thinking that far ahead. Pioli is their guy and unless we fail to make top 4 I highly doubt he gets fired. He tows the company line, doesn’t demand expensive transfers or any at all for that matter, and makes a reasonable salary and is fair with younger players (save for Adli lol). So I don’t think Redbird have any intention of getting rid of him any time soon unfortunately

      1. True, seems they are okay with the current set up for long term, and they feel zlatan is the missing piece, hope their plan will work

      2. Well said. I think his role might be something along the lines of “Team Manager”, which is a position that seems to be common in Italy and is a liaison between the management and the players. I think Abbiati had this role a few seasons back. Not sure if anyone is in that role now.

  2. According to a little pink bird that whistled in my ear, once Zlatan has accepted, Pioli will be sacked and replaced by Bonera to ensure the transition until the summer. Bonera, who holds a coaching licence, will be supported by Zlatan, who will be part of the technical staff. The choice of Bonera has been made to cushion the blow of the expenses caused by the sacking of Pioli and his staff, of which Bonera is normally a member. Bonera will have a 3-month trial and if he doesn’t make it, he will be replaced by Abate, who will also be supported by Zlatan. In the event that nothing goes according to plan, a world-class coach will be called in and Zlatan, who will have signed for 1 year, will have to resign during the summer in the event of poor performance.

  3. The problem with Ibra coming back is that he is the missing piece only to Pioli. What happens when we eventually upgrade to a coach that can do what Ibra can? Cut Zlatan loose?

  4. People are overthinking this. Ibra has a dominant personality and he makes the people around him perform better. We saw that when he was a player. He is a big brother that will challenge everyone. That’s all Cardinale wants.

    I don’t think the longterm plan is even at Milan. Cardinale may want Ibra as a generic CEO within his company, like Elliott did with Gazidis, and send him to go fix problems and start new ventures.

    1. Gazidis has decades of experience as a corporate officer. He even ran an entire league. There is no comparison with Ibra in that sense. Ibra is not qualified to be the CEO of a company. Sorry.

  5. Bottom line , why don’t we involve Maldini? Ibra and Maldini will be a great combination, even if Pioli will still be the head coach

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