AC Milan are struggling this season. There is no going around that fact. They currently sit in 11th place in the Serie A table, with just 21 points gained from 17 matches. They’re 14 points off the last Champions League spot, held by a feisty AS Roma side, with virtually little hope of completing their goal of qualification for the tournament. Zlatan Ibrahimović, the club’s latest signing, has the leadership tools, however, to turn things around and salvage something out of the season.
Zlatan Ibrahimović Brings Leadership to AC Milan
The Milan Squad
On paper, the Rossoneri have a team that should be capable of a run at the Champions League. They finished fifth last season, just one point off qualification, and didn’t lose any major pieces of their squad. The sacking of former manager Gennaro Gattuso may play a large role in this, but the team has the capability of being so much more.
Ibrahimović does not tolerate losing. He’s played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs in Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester United. He’s seen success everywhere he’s been. Ibrahimović knows Milan are struggling, but he accepted the challenge. He will see the talent in the squad and will push players to their limits. Furthermore, young players of today look up to legends like Ibrahimović. With him in the squad, players will be fearful of disappointment.
Milan are a young team. Alessio Romagnoli is captaining the team at 24; Gianluigi Donnarumma is the team’s most consistent performer at only 20. The only true veteran leader that’s seen the highs and lows of football on the squad is Pepe Reina, and he rarely sees time on the pitch. Milan have so clearly lacked on-field leadership, and Ibrahimović fills this void.
The Rossoneri are not going to transform into world-beaters after this singing. Although still talented, Ibrahimović is 38-years-old. He’s not going to be the best striker in Italy like he was during his first stint with Milan.
The Swede still should have plenty left in the tank, however. He was exceptional in his last healthy season of top-flight football with Manchester United in the Premier League, scoring 17 goals and providing five assists in 28 matches. The majority of Milan’s struggles this season have come up front, and Ibrahimović should ease said struggles. Furthermore, if manager Stefano Pioli opts to use two strikers, Piątek should see better opportunities alongside Ibrahimović. Even Rafael Leão, who has shown promise, may become a better player.
A Europa League spot is not out of the question for Milan, with the point differential being single digits. Although this was not their original goal, it’s likely the best they can do to salvage their season. Ibrahimović should be joined by other January signings, but none near the magnitude of the big Swede. Milan should be more fun to watch once again, be more competitive, and finally score goals and win matches.