Ibrahimovic explains Milan’s struggles and reflects on Champions League exclusion

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tried to explain the reasons behind the Rossoneri’s poor form recently following the defeat away at Udinese on Saturday night. 

Speaking after the game to Sky Sport (via Milan News), the Swedish striker tried to suggest that there is a different level of performance put in by opponents when they are coming up against the current Serie A champions.

“When you play as champions of Italy you are a target and a stimulus for everyone. This year we play under pressure every game. When you play in a big club it’s like that, everyone wants to beat Milan because they are Italian champions,” Ibrahimovic explained.

“Look at Udinese, when they score goals, it looks like they scored a goal in a final. But it’s also fair because they score goals against the Italian champions. This team has no experience to play as champions of Italy. That’s why these ups and downs come. We didn’t manage to keep the level high for all the matches, we didn’t manage to stay at the top all the time. It’s not an excuse but an explanation for what happened.”

Ibrahimovic made his first start for Milan since having knee surgery in the summer and Stefano Pioli also made him the captain of the team.

Whilst it was not a winning return, he did score. His first penalty was saved by Marco Silvestri but it was retaken after encroachment and he scored the second attempt.

He spoke about what the goal meant to him, saying: “I am proud to be part of the history of this club. It is a great club with great history, with great players. It has my name on it and it means a lot to me. This goal didn’t bring me three points, which is what I wanted.

“Then my first game as Milan captain gave me pride, unfortunately it didn’t go our way. But I felt good, then I hadn’t played as a starter for 14 months. The important thing is to feel good, if I feel as good as I do today I have no doubts. I still believe in myself.”

When asked if there is still room for excitement in his career, Ibrahimovic said: “In my opinion there is still room. Ismael [Bennacer] came to my room today and told me he wanted me to be captain. I told him OK, I’ll take this pressure off you. I was fine, I prepared as best I could. Unfortunately the match didn’t go well, we have to raise the level.”

Ibrahimovic was not named on Milan’s Champions League squad list which means he cannot feature in the quarter-final against Napoli. The Swede seems to understand the reasoning though.

“Everyone wants to play in the Champions League. When it was time to give the lists I wasn’t ready, I respect the choice and now I can only prepare my colleagues in the best way in training. I have confidence in the team, they have done well so far and they will do well against Napoli too,” he said.

Speaking more widely about Italian teams in Europe, he said: “Very positive. We were seven, now we are six, I speak as an Italian.

“Three in the Champions League and the others in Europa and Conference, it’s a positive thing, Serie A takes more points. The championship is going well in my opinion. When they said Serie A is not as good as the Premier League and then Italy won the European Championship there wasn’t so much talk… I’m happy for the three Italian teams in the Champions League.”

On the penalty that he missed and then scored, Ibrahimovic said: “In my opinion I hit the first one well, then the goalkeeper made a good save. Then the second one came and I thought ‘Now I’ll throw the ball and the goalkeeper in’.”

Finally when asked about his general condition and ability to play, he said: “If I am well I want to continue. Whoever quits complains about quitting. If I’m well I can do even more. Then I suffered too much in these 14 months, I want to take my revenge. I am well at AC Milan, it depends on what they are looking for, what the idea is. I’m available, I’m in no hurry.”

Tags AC Milan Udinese Zlatan Ibrahimovic


  1. whats problems with millan are we going to chaitnpion lead as that with Napoli & other teams.
    Tell tryed and arrange,we have alots to redress.

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