Pioli pays tribute to ‘champion’ Ibrahimovic and praises De Ketelaere after bright cameo

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli paid tribute to Zlatan Ibrahimovic for his contribution to AC Milan and also praised Charles De Ketelaere for his cameo against Hellas Verona.

Milan ended their season with three goals and three points as they beat Hellas Verona 3-1 at San Siro, thanks to a penalty from Olivier Giroud and a brace from Rafael Leao inside the final five minutes following Faraoni’s equaliser.

However, the evening belonged to Ibrahimovic as he got a farewell in front of over 70,000 fans at San Siro. He walked out to a guard of honour and was presented with a shirt by the management, before confirming his retirement after some tears were shed.

Pioli spoke to Milan TV after the game to try and dissect a difficult but entertaining match on an emotional evening given the backdrop of Zlatan’s farewell, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

On the importance of Ibra: “He helped a lot on and off the pitch. He has been a point of reference for me, he has an incredible mentality, he is a winner from Monday to Sunday and he has helped to make a young group like ours understand many things.

“He has not only contributed off the field but also on it. He has not only shown that he is a great champion but also a person I have often compared with, a personality suited to a certain type of environment.”

On Milan’s path in recent years: “The path is important, you always have to remember where you started from. We have raised the bar now, we have to think big and think of being competitive in both competitions, knowing that few succeed.

“The merits belong to everyone, first of all to the club: without solidity, planning and support, you won’t go anywhere. Now the group is no longer young, it has shown that it knows how to take certain responsibilities.

“Few groups could have overcome the difficult time we had in January-February. But our whole group, not just the team but the whole environment, is united. I don’t think a path ends, you have to continue it to grow and try to win something.”

On De Ketelaere’s promising cameo: “He is a very intelligent and helpful player, he understood where he was lacking and where he could give more. It’s right that we expect a lot, when you play for Milan it’s right that there are expectations.”

Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli


  1. It’s only Verona but yes, this was only the 2nd time (first was his debut) that I saw glimpses of talent from CDK.

    Nothing remarkable but since there have been many criticism it’s only right he gets praise. Perhaps we can find a role for him next season, an option/backup for 10 or RW , especially as Brahim will depart.

    1. if you want to use the phrase “glimpses” you clearly hasnt watch many ac milan matches this season as he actually started out quite well but due to his team mates errors he didnt get the assists he would have gotten had those players actually done the own job he would have had 5 assists after 10 games.
      Has he been a great disapointment afterwards, sure but the kid clearly has talent whether you or other people around here aknowledges it or or not.
      He lost confidence but thats not the same as he isnt a talented player.

  2. Personally I hope, with full preparation and summer rest far from everything, he will come back stronger, proved all of us wrong, and became our starting CAM/RW. I expect him to have at least 10 Goals contribution next season.

  3. I hope CdK can shine as RW at U21 European Championship so we can focus more transfer budget to get prolific ST knowing that RW is secure.

  4. If CDK didn’t learn anything about grinta from Zlatan he will not learn it at all and will be forgotten in a few years. He needs to man up – and soon.

  5. I won’t say CDk good and that but Brahim played 5 games Well and the rest he was invisible CDk played 5 games from the start which were bad and the rest were just 10 15 cameos I think next year with the proper mentality he will shine and with Brahim gone so PIOLI doesn’t play his favourites

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