While Milan’s improved form in 2020 continues to be linked directly to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return, the veteran forward is making a hugely decisive impact for us.
It seems a little over-the-top to suggest that the 38-year-old is solely responsible for our resurgence, but his experience, leadership and mentality are certainly having a positive influence on the side.
Add to that his eight goals and four assists in 17 appearances since he rejoined us, and he has undoubtedly played a major role in our improved run and that continued at Sassuolo in midweek.
Influence and fitness so impressive
The Swede was ruled out of our games against Lecce and Roma after the restart due to a calf injury, and so he has been battling to get back to full fitness since.
He has gradually stepped up his involvement as the games have gone on, and that has culminated in playing a full 90 minutes against Parma and Sassuolo in two of our last three outings.
For a 38-year-old to continue to compete at this level every three days after coming back from an injury just shows the mentality, hunger and class of Ibrahimovic as he continues to prove why we should keep him for another year with his current deal having an option to be extended for next season, as per the club’s statement.
That’s also now four goals in his last six games, as well as three assists. Even when he’s not directly involved, he’s still involved. In turn, he has proven to be a decisive and pivotal figure in our bid to close the gap and secure Europa League qualification.
With three games to go it’s hoped that he can continue to show his class and lead us to a strong finish. However, based on what we’ve seen since January, there is no doubt that he still has plenty left in the tank and is more than capable of producing at this level moving forward.
As per the club’s site, Stefano Pioli has now signed a new deal to stay as coach until 2022. Given how well they’ve worked together thus far on and off the pitch, it surely now makes sense to prioritise extending Ibrahimovic’s stay too as he has shown that he can still command a major role in the side and not be limited to being just a bit-part figure in the squad.