Zlatan Ibrahimovic has recalled his first meeting with AC Milan back when he was an Ajax player, and sent a message to young players regarding their approach to goals and assists.
Ibrahimovic is getting closer and closer to a return, six months after undergoing serious knee surgery. The Swede’s recovery process has gone really well and he will soon join his team-mates in training, per multiple reports.
The 41-year-old played the second half of last season with a knee that was far from being 100%, but still managed to make a difference as the Rossoneri went on to win the Scudetto thanks to his leadership.
Ibrahimovic spoke to Milan TV during the third episode of their ‘On The Pitch’ series, recalling his first spell at the club right up to winning the Scudetto last season, with his comments relayed by SempreMilan.it.
On his first meeting against Milan: “Already at that time Milan was incredible, everyone wanted to play for them, with all the great players there were and for everything they won. My Ajax was a talented team, many respected us, then many of that team were successful. I’m happy and proud to have played with those players and also at Ajax, which is a great football school.”
On his assist against Lazio: “A record of old men, I feel young, but it’s beautiful. The important thing for me is to win the match, I do everything to help, if I do it when I’m older, that’s fine.”
On the difference between assists and goals: “I’m someone who wants to help in every way, I don’t have the ego to want to do everything myself. I’m here at Milan to give everything, to help my team-mates improve, be successful and understand what we’re doing: it’s a sacrifice, a job and a commitment to win, we don’t do it to waste time. When you assist, it’s like scoring a goal.”
On what he asks of his team-mates: “I always ask youngsters if they would rather score or get an assist when in front of the goalkeeper with a team-mate to the side, if he tells me the it’s the first one [to score] it’s difficult to play with me, because an assist counts as a goal, that’s the right mentality.
“Then there are players who only aim for goals, but for me you don’t enjoy it the same way, you’re not complete, you’re more complete if you bring a team-mate up to your level.”
On the goal he scored against Lazio: “I also stopped tying my shoe because I thought a situation was about to come in which I could score, as a striker I immediately decided to run towards goal. Plus I know Ante and what he is capable of doing, in fact he gave me a perfect ball.
“A simple goal but that is not, because it starts from the beginning, not from the last metre. For a goal like this you need a feeling, you either have it or you don’t, it can’t be created or learned. That’s why in a team you have 11 different players in many things that go together.”