Pioli confirms Zlatan's readiness to start for AC Milan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not started a Serie A match for almost 14 months. However, after undergoing knee surgery, the operation was crucial in allowing him to continue playing at the age of 41
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in the running to start in Milan's upcoming match against Udinese, as the team looks to improve under the leadership of Stefano Pioli. After undergoing knee surgery, the 41-year-old has made three appearances as a substitute, and has been recalled by Sweden this week.
With Olivier Giroud suspended for the upcoming match, Ibrahimovic is a strong candidate to start the game. He already holds the record for the oldest player to have played for Milan in a Serie A game in the era of three points for a win, and Pioli has no reservations about his fitness.
"Zlatan is calm; he wants to play and win every game,"
Pioli said on Friday.
"He's feeling good, but I don't think he's got 90 minutes in him. He could start, as could Divock [Origi] and Ante [Rebic]."
aims to start in a Serie A game for the first time since facing Juventus on January 23, 2022, and has a good record against Udinese, being involved in five goals in his last four games against them. Despite a "strange situation" with Rafael Leao's performance in Milan's previous game, the winger is expected to keep his place in the starting lineup. Milan drew 1-1 with Salernitana in their last match and lost to Fiorentina in their previous league game.
"Rafa is training really well. He's very motivated and determined, and he remains an important figure in our attack because, even if he's not scoring, he keeps opposition defences occupied,"
"My advice to him would be to stay close to those who care deeply for him and want to help him grow. Goals and decisive pieces of play are expected from him, but, as previously mentioned, he's dangerous even when he doesn't score."
Setting Zlatan aside, Pioli talked about Ac Milan's Champions eague quarter finals' opponent, Napoli.
Quoted on Milan's official website, Pioli said:
"Napoli are enjoying a great league campaign, but the Champions League is the Champions League and AC Milan are AC Milan. It's exciting and fascinating and our opponents are very strong, but we're deservedly part of it and have plenty of motivation and ambition.
"We'll play with the aim of making it through. We'll have time to talk about the Champions League, which is certainly an objective of ours, but, right now, doing well in our next three league games is crucial."
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