Sandro Tonali spoke about the desire to end the season with a win not just to give the team a high note but also because it’s what they ‘owe to Zlatan’.
Milan secured a top four spot last weekend against Juventus but they made sure they closed the chapter of the 2022-23 season with a 3-1 win against relegation battlers Hellas Verona thanks to a Rafael Leao brace and a penalty from Olivier Giroud.
However, the night belonged to Ibrahimovic and there was not a dry eye in the house as the Milan fans and Sandro Tonali were visibly emotional during his speech. The 41-year-old even let go of his tough exterior and shed a few tears, such was the poignancy of the occasion.
Tonali spoke to Milan TV after the game and discussed his emotions after bidding farewell to a player he grew up watching, explaining exactly what Zlatan meant to the group.
“I watched Ibra play the first year after he returned, and I was also lucky enough to play with him. I got really emotional but [his exit] hadn’t been planned long in advance so we didn’t have much time to prepare ourselves,” he began.
“It’s a moment that I’ll always take with me because Ibra is Ibra. There’s no other explanation really. Playing with him was special, having him as a friend now likewise.
“He gave us everything he had; he definitely changed this team’s mentality. He helped us all. It wasn’t easy for him to retire this way without having the chance to play his last game. That’s painful.
“I know he’s a strong person, I wish him nothing but the best. Moments like these unite us all, those three years together have made us a tight-knit group. I wish his farewell could have been delayed… but time is not on the side of footballers. And Ibra is already a big man.
“From the outside, today’s game may have appeared like a dead rubber, but we worked hard the whole week to go out there and win.
“We put all our strength and energy into this performance, something we owed to Zlatan since his arrival. We want to win and I can’t wait to get going again.”