Zlatan Ibrahimovic Comments On Racism, Age and AC Milan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he isn’t ready to walk away from football just yet and is still hungry and yearning for more success.
The ex-Sweden international, Ibrahimovic, has played in the top division of seven countries in a career that began more than two decades ago. Currently, he is the current top scorer in Serie A ahead of the Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku with 10 goals from eight league games.
“I’ll keep going until I can’t do these things I’m doing. I just have to keep physically good and the rest will be solved by itself”. Said the 39-year-old Zlatan.
Being in the top-scoring team in the Serie A table and unbeaten after 10 games, five points clear of their rivals Inter Milan, Ibrahimovic commented, “we are in unbelievable form. We are doing great, we’re doing good. But still we haven’t won anything. We have to keep that in mind”.
Additionally, Ibrahimovic noted his second spell at Milan differs from his first time with the club a decade ago. Last season, the side finished sixth in the League.
An added extra motivation has been the fact some fans were not convinced he could perform in a top European league as a 39-year-old who had been playing in the USA for LA Galaxy despite having scored almost 500 career goals.
“The first time I came to Milan, I came to a club fighting for the title. The second time I came it was in a situation to bring the club and the team back to the top where it belongs”.
“It’s a different challenge. It’s a challenge I like. Because when they say it’s too difficult, it’s almost impossible. That is where I come in the picture and that’s where I feel alive”.
“If I can succeed and if I’m able to do what I think I can do, the feedback is amazing, the feeling is amazing because it’s a bigger achievement than coming to a top team that is already top. I’m very motivated”.
The forward’s recovery from a career-threatening knee injury suffered while at Man United in 2017 also helped Ibrahimovic to move on.
He said, “after my injury, I said to myself that as long as I can play football, I will play. But when you play on this level, it’s all about performance. If you perform, if you bring results, then you are still on the top-level”.
“As soon as you don’t do that someone else will come and they will perform. I like that pressure because I don’t want to be here because of what I’ve done before. I’m here because of what I do at the present time and that is the pressure I put on myself”.
“Whatever I did before I don’t bring it on the table now because it’s like I have to demonstrate every day who I am. That’s why I bring out the best of myself every day. I’ll keep going until I can’t do these things I’m doing”.
The former Barcelona, Inter, Ajax, Paris St-Germain, and Malmo player understands that even he needs to adapt his game, though.
“I have a lot of experience, goals have never been an issue, I just keep going. I’m not the same player I was five years ago, I’m not the same player I was 10 years ago, we all change because of the development in your physical point of view,” he said.
“I’m honest in saying that I’m not running as I ran before; I’m running more intelligent now. The Italian league, the reason I say that it’s the most difficult to play in for a striker is that it’s very technical and the philosophy of Italy is not to concede a goal rather than score a goal.
“I feel like I’ve been here for different generations. I played against (former Milan defender) Paolo Maldini and now I’m playing with his son, Daniel. Hopefully, I can play with Daniel’s son also, that would be a miracle.”
His recent positive test for Covid-19 was more of a “mental challenge” than physical, he said – he went on to front an information campaign in Italy asking people to respect social distancing and not to challenge the virus as “you are not Zlatan”.