Tue 13 December 2022 | 10:12

"I don't have the ego I had ten years ago", says Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Milan is the right team for Rafael Leao and he should stay at San Siro.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

underwent a knee operation at the end of last season but currently is at


training camp in Dubai and is hopeful to return to action in the new year.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ibrahimovic first discussed his latest physical situation.

“I’m fine, I’m improving day by day, I’m following the protocol we gave ourselves. Milan misses Ibra but the opposite is also true, Ibra misses Milan.”

Zlatan said he can not set a precise date for his return to action.

“There is no set timetable for the return, I am an expert in injury management, I would be wrong to set a precise date. Were it for the desire, I would have been a starter in the first league game. But I don’t think like that anymore, when ready, I will play.

“I cannot go on the pitch just because my name is Ibrahimovic and maybe spend a game walking. If I’m there, I have to make an impact, otherwise, better bench or grandstand.”

Zlatan admitted his ego has reduced and he is a more mature person than ten years ago.

“Of course, I no longer have the ego of ten years ago. Today I am different, more mature, more responsible.

“I put myself at the disposal of the younger players and the coach, he is the one who decides. I no longer think I can do everything on my own, I respect every choice, even if it does not reward me.”

The 41-year-old Ibrahimovic was asked why he hasn’t been retired yet.

“Because I still feel the adrenaline, the excitement of the fans, the smell of the pitch. And because I am not satisfied, I always want to do more. So, I feel alive.

“I chose to have surgery not only to be able to go on playing but also to be well, in the last six months of last season I suffered so much, in silence. I didn’t want to say this so as not to bring negativity on the team.”

Zlatan said Milan’s goal this season is to win all the trophies.

“All of them. If I’m here, it’s because I believe in it. Scudetto, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa, Champions League, we want everything. Giving up one goal means giving up all of them.

“And our mentality is no longer this. I have no dreams, only goals. Let’s leave dreams to others, we do. Everything is possible, football teaches that.”

Former Barcelona and Manchester United star also talked about the title race in Italy.

“We are second at the moment. Napoli are strong, Kvaratskhelia is the player who impressed me the most. But Juve are also coming back and Inter are in the running. We, however, are there.

“Plus, this is too particular a year with the winter break and the World Cup played in between, it will be a league more about condition and less about quality.

“And from my long experience of winning the Scudetto, I know that the second part of the season is always decisive.”

Milan will face Inter in the Suppercoppa Italiana in January.

“I hope to be on the pitch against Inter but who knows. Lukaku? Nothing to say to him, I hope he is well and can be there. The same wish I wish myself.

“For the rest I think about myself, not about others, they must be afraid. And the Champions League record doesn’t interest me. I am interested in scoring, only that.”

Zlatan believes Milan is the right team for

Rafael Leao

and he should stay. Leao’s contract expires in 2024 and negotiations between him and the club is ongoing.

“Of course, Milan is the right environment for him. Just look at his growth, when he arrived, he was far from the decisive player he is today. Here he is very important for us, elsewhere would he be as important? He would have to start from scratch, you can’t be sure he would be ready right away.

“At Milan he has confidence, space and freedom, which is not a given at another club, it’s up to you. Besides, you can see that he is happy here, by now he is laughing even before scoring. He is the young man who has grown the most.

“Theo has improved so much, De Ketelaere is strong, and patience is needed. But Leao is on another level, above average. He lacks a step, he will only do it when he is fully convinced of his abilities.

“Today even he doesn’t really know how strong he is. Then he will be really scary. And the price will go up.”

Ibrahimovic also spoke about his future after retirement.

“Coaching is a great responsibility. And having been great players does not automatically guarantee becoming great coaches.

“It wasn’t for Zidane or Guardiola, and it wouldn’t be for Ibrahimovic. There are no advantages, it takes study and work, step by step.”

source: SportMob

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