AC Milan will see Zlatan Ibrahimović suspended for one match after his direct red card against Parma this past weekend. This means that he will miss the Rossoneri‘s duel with Genoa at the San Siro on Sunday.
Ibrahimović was given a straight red for apparent disrespectful criticism of a referee. The red card decision has also garnered its own criticism, with Milan faithful indicating that Ibrahimović’s words were misconstrued. The one-match suspension is also odd, as typically this kind of behavior warrants a two-match suspension from Serie A.
Zlatan Ibrahimović Suspended for One Match
Calm and Collected Heads Prevail
One can debate whether or not Ibrahimović deserved a suspension. With that being said, he’s one of football’s brightest stars and veterans, meaning he knows the consequences of his actions. Milan are on a crucial stretch right now to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 2013/14 season, and need all their firepower available.
Ibrahimović is Milan’s leader. Not only is he the best goal scorer, but also by far the most experienced player. The youthful squad looks up to him, and he must set an example. This suspension also comes at a bad time. Not just because of the end of the season, but because of Milan’s injury woes all year long. The squad is finally becoming healthy, and they need their full squad.
The Swede needs to put this suspension behind him and be the most vocal voice in training this week. The players need his motivation in order to secure all three points, as they struggle without him.
The Replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimović
The most likely replacement for the Swede is Rafael Leão. He sealed the victory versus Parma last week with a goal in the dying embers of the match. This gives him morale for the upcoming match, but it’s safe to say Leão typically struggles as the lone striker.
Mario Mandzukic is fit once again but has barely played for Milan. In fact, he’s played just 80 Serie A minutes since arriving in January. This is due to injury, but he would’ve been the ideal option for the Rossoneri in this match. If Leão struggles, Mandzukic is likely the first name off the bench.
Genoa are 13th in the league with 32 points from 30 matches. Twelve of their matches have been losses. In addition, they’ve allowed 44 goals to be scored against them, nine more than Milan. Leão and company must take advantage of Genoa’s shaky defence as the breathing room between them and Juventus and Atalanta is closing in quickly.