Pioli recalls when he welcomed Ibrahimovic at Milan: “I had never hugged someone so big”

By Isak Möller -

Since Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived in January, Milan have completely turned things around and the Swede deserves praise for this. Along with manager Stefano Pioli, he has created a Rossoneri side that doesn’t give up. 

The two work very well together and have a good understanding of each other, which has only helped Milan even more. Above all, though, they have been able to create something beautiful that keeps ticking, even when they are unavailable.

In an interview with Sportweek (via MilanNews), which was released in full this morning, Pioli was asked about Ibrahimovic and his importance for the team. He also recalled when he welcomed the 39-year-old to the club back in January.

“The team is aware of their qualities and by now they have a clear understanding of the game concepts. Having said that, we know how important Zlatan has been for the growth of the group and how important his presence on the pitch is. But we have other characteristics to play when he’s not with us.

“I waited for him in the gym at the end of training. He came when it was dark. We hugged each other, and I had never hugged someone so big. I met few people as intelligent and nice. But that’s off the pitch, therefore on it, Ibra is an animal. And it’s a compliment, mind you. I asked him to put his qualities at the service of a young team,” he concluded.

The Rossoneri will take on Sampdoria tomorrow, with kick-off set at 20:45. Ibrahimovic will miss the game as he’s still recovering from injury, but the feeling is that he will be ready for Genoa on Wednesday.

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Tags AC Milan Stefano Pioli Zlatan Ibrahimovic