Zlatan Could Be The Man That Brings Back Title To Milan

After six games, AC Milan remain unbeaten and sit top of the Serie A table.

It seems crazy to think that plans were in place towards the end of last term to replace current boss Stefano Pioli with German gaffer Ralf Rangnick. Yet after an impressive end to the 2019-20 campaign, which saw the Rossoneri qualify for the Europa League, it was announced a U-turn had been made and that Pioli had now signed a two year extension to remain in charge at the San Siro (Source BBC Sport).

Milan’s fine finish to last season has continued into this current year. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Theo Hernandez, Franck Kessié and Rafael Leâo have all been in impressive form as their side have won five out of their opening six league fixtures.

The real maverick in the team is the seemingly ageless Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The thirty-nine year old returned to the Italian top flight in January and ended last season with ten strikes in eighteen league games. This term Zlatan has already banged in seven in just four domestic appearances, that’s half of Milan’s league tally so far. He currently leads the Italian scoring charts, ahead of Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo.

During the weekend the star striker was fully involved in his side’s latest victory.

AC Milan took the lead on the eighteenth minute when the ball was played into the box and Zlatan instantly controlled it, held off his marker before calmly looking around and picking out an incoming Klessié who riffled his shot into the net.

In the second half Udinese levelled things via the penalty spot.

Then on the eighty-third minute, Ibra rolled back the years as he improvised when the ball was high in the air inside Udinese’s penalty box as he managed to secure enough contact with his overhead kick which crossed the line and nestled into the back of the net.

That game showed us once again what an iconic figure Zlatan Ibrahimovic is.

His Milan teammates celebrated his winning strike as if he was a conquering hero and one who was leading them to glory. His first touch remains immaculate and he still has the strength of a lion. Any pace that he may have lost has been made up for with his supreme footballing intelligence. His fitness is still there too, he’s lasted the full ninety minutes for each of his four Serie A outings. Plus he still has the magic of being able to score against top class opposition as was the case with his doubles against city rivals Inter and also against AS Roma.

Stefano Pioli clearly understands that his veteran hitman could be the key to any success the Rossoneri have this term. Zlatan has pulled many a club by the bootstraps and taken them with him to a league title. He did it back in 2011, the last time Milan won the Scudetto.

That’s why Pioli is clearly deciding to rest him more when European games come around, the Swede still starts but he just won’t see the final whistle.

The Milan boss has already stated that Zlatan is important in keeping this young squad together as they search for silverware:

“Ibra knows how much he is important for his teammates’ growth. He knows the path is a long one, we want to overcome these challenges that help us to improve under every point of view.”

Pioli via Football Italia

His form this season remains even more astonishing when you consider that he tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the campaign (Source Sky Sports).

You get the sense that this could be a huge season for Italian football. Under rookie boss Andrea Pirlo, nine in a row champions Juventus look slightly vulnerable. There will be sides in Serie A that will look at this time as being their time to shine.

If AC Milan can keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic fit, healthy and scoring goals then you wouldn’t bet against Zlatan being the warrior who would dethrone his old club and reclaim his crown as king of Italian football!

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