Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his long-awaited return to the field last night and pledged to get even better after a few more training sessions.
AC Milan secured a massive victory at San Siro as they beat top four rivals Atalanta 2-0 to lay down an important marker in the race for the Champions League, racking up a fourth win in a row across all competitions and a fourth clean sheet too.
There was some doubt in the build-up to the game whether Ibrahimovic would be fit enough to play a portion of the match or if the situation would even dictate that it would be wise for him to come on, but with 15 minutes to go he entered the field to a very warm welcome from the fans present.
Ibrahimovic gave an interview to Sky at the end of the game to talk about his road to recovery and his role moving forward, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
On the past year: “I lived through a year with great suffering. At Christmas last year I didn’t feel well and I couldn’t do the things I could in the first six months. I helped the team in every way but I wasn’t well. Today I’m fine and I’m doing what I can. I did three training sessions, the more sessions I do the more I’ll improve.”
On his targets: “The goal is to help the team and do what I have to. I have to be present and ready when the coach needs it. I want to make a difference.”
On his role: “I feel important, I have great responsibilities. Since I returned to Milan, the adventure we have arrived at today begun. When I’m not there, the team lacks the pressure I put on every day. In the last three or four weeks, I’ve seen good the team, they all want to do more.
“During the season there are more difficult moments, the important thing is to get back up as soon as possible. In the last four games it has gone well with four wins. Now they are all available, when it is like this, everything is more easy for the coach.”
On De Ketelaere: “I got a good look at him, I see myself a little in him. At Ajax this moment lasted a year for me. Everything is new for him, he is in a new country and there are things that influence him on the pitch. When he unlocks, he’ll be off. He’s fine and he just needs to unlock. He has to do what the coach asks of him.”
On Napoli: “Napoli is doing well, it’s no secret. It’s his moment. Kvara? He’s playing well but the whole team is doing well. If he and Osimhen do well, it’s the team that does it. They have a strong coach, who they haven’t won the Scudetto yet and this year everything is going towards them.”