The Sweden International Zlatan Ibrahimovic discussed his desire to return to the pitch and how he doesnt cares for Champions League records.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 41has been forced to the sidelines since May when he underwent knee surgery.
The Swedish forward underwent a knee operation at the end of last season after playing the second half of that campaign through injury,
desperate to help the Rossoneri win their first Scudetto in over a decade.
Ibrahimovic has been working hard on his recovery since, keen to give Stefano Pioli’s side a helping hand as they look to defend their hard-fought Scudetto.
Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport
Ibrahimovic asked how he feels? at Milan’s training camp in Dubai.
“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.”
when he expects to 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.”
Ibra on his ego and growth in maturity over the last few years.
“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.”
Ibrahimovic on why he hasn’t hung up his boots 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.”
Ibra on his and Milan’s goals this season.
“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.”
The 41-year-old weighed in on the title race with Napoli.
“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.”
He looked ahead to the upcoming Supercoppa Italiana clash between Milan and Inter.
“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.”
Ibrahimovic discussed Rafael Leao’s future and other impressive players in the Milan squad.
“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 on his future and what he’d like to do after retiring.
“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.”