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The Swede scored twice in a win against Napoli yesterday.
Despite his ripe age – in footballing terms – Zlatan Ibrahimović is showing no sign of slowing down. The legendary striker has scored 10 league goals in just 6 games this season, propelling his side to the top of the Serie A.
Once one of Europe’s elite clubs, AC Milan’s fear factor has dwindled in recent years after a barren spell of domestic mediocrity. In fact, the Rossoneri have not won a league title since the 2010-11 season. A season where Zlatan played his part as he scored 14 league goals whilst on loan from FC Barcelona.
10 years on and Zlatan is back at the helm, having joined on a free transfer in December 2019. Initially the striker joined on a six-month contract. After some impressive displays, though, his contract was extended until the summer of 2021.
After years of domestic failure, can AC Milan finally finish as champions?
Ibrahimović’s goalscoring form has helped reinvigorate AC Milan this season, thus far. His performances in October helped him secure Serie A player of the month. He continued that form into November with equally impressive displays. He scored a brace yesterday as Milan overcame a strong Napoli side to top the league. Unfortunately, though, the striker was forced off towards the end of the game with an apparent hamstring injury. The severity of the injury is yet to be confirmed. However, Initial reports suggest the talismanic figure may miss weeks of action.
Milan will be forced to rely on their other striking options in the absence of Ibrahimović. His return will be a welcome one, but Milan will hope his absence can be filled appropriately.
Despite the season only being in it’s early stages, some have tipped Milan for the league title. The performances of Zlatan have no doubt been helped by his teammates. A number of other Milan players have also been ever-present this season. Ismaël Bennacer, Theo Hernández and Sandro Tonali are just some of the many examples of talent within the current AC Milan camp.
Ibrahimović, of course, has a wealth of title winning experience under his belt, particularly in the Serie A. He has an impressive collection of Serie A titles while playing for AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus*.
* indicates revocation of titles due to match fixing.
In total, the striker has won 10 league titles over his career in 6 different countries. He’ll be hoping to add that collection this season by helping Milan to a title that has been so evasive over the years.
The search for European football’s ultimate prize
In his illustrious career, Zlatan has won trophies that the average footballer can only dream of. One trophy that has evaded him, however, is the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately, there is no chance of the striker claiming that trophy this season with Milan competing in the Europa League.
Saying that, this AC Milan team is clearly a team with lofty ambitions. The addition of their summer signings along with their previous roster makes up one of the strongest Milan sides in recent years. They’re well on the way to a top 4 finish so far, which would mean a Champions League spot. Although it would be an enormous challenge, with good recruitment and guidance the Italian giants may have an outside chance of winning the competition next season.
Obviously, for him to even have a chance of winning the Champions League with Milan, Ibrahimović would have to extend his contract with the club. If he can maintain his form and avoid further injuries, a renewal would almost be certain, barring retirement. Despite his age, a retirement would be unlikely, though. The Swedish striker only recently considered an international return, a request which was turned down by Sweden manager Janne Andersson.
Time will tell what happens in the coming years. One thing that is certain, though, is Ibrahimović’s status as one of the greatest to play the game.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) NOVEMBER 23, 2020