MILAN (AP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic said last season that if he had been with Milan from the beginning, the Rossoneri would have won the Serie A title. This campaign could prove him right.
Many scoffed at Ibrahimovic’s remarks in July, despite the Swede making them after an extraordinary 4-2 win over Juventus, calling them yet another wild comment from the outspoken forward.
Milan had been through several years of turmoil, with two changes of ownership and not finishing a season higher than fifth in the Italian league table since 2013.
The club was ranked 12th when Ibrahimovic returned to the club in January, eight years after his departure – and those of others – triggered a spiraling crash.
Milan currently have a two-point lead in the league and have not lost in Serie A since March, in their last meeting before the coronavirus pandemic caused the suspension of matches.
When football resumed their encounters, the Rossoneri began a 23-game unbeaten streak that French club Lille ended in a Europa League match on Thursday.
Much of that achievement is due to Ibrahimovic, who has scored 18 league goals since his return, including eight in five appearances this season to top the Italian scoring chart.
Ibrahimovic signed a new one-year contract with Milan in August and sporting director Paolo Maldini, a former Rossoneri defender, recently said the club is ready to negotiate an extension to that contract.
“Ibra is special without a doubt,” said Maldini.
Ibrahimovic scored again on Sunday to salvage a point for his team with a header on stoppage time in a 2-2 draw at Hellas Verona.
His scoring streak is even more impressive when you consider that Ibrahimovic turned 39 last month. He has shown few signs of his age, and he says he doesn’t feel it.
“I feel like a child, I want to play,” he declared. “It could be the opposite, that he could no longer play, so this is better.”
Ibrahimovic became the third Milan player to score in seven straight Serie A games.
“You always need to have goals. We do not play because it is fun, although it is, but you need to have goals. At least that’s my philosophy ”, he stressed.