Speaking after AC Milan's narrow 1-0 victory over Genoa on Saturday, striker Stephan El Shaarawy conceded that he has greatly benefited from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's exit from the club.
The Italian popped up with the winner for the Rossoneri in the second half of their clash with the Grifoni on his 20th birthday, as the win temporarily relieved the pressure on Massimiliano Allegri's side, who have suffered an underwhelming start to the season - this only its third victory in nine games in Serie A.
El Shaarawy has led by example with seven goals in the last five weeks and believes that his super start to the season is because he is no longer standing in the shadow of Ibrahimovic.
"I think that Ibra leaving has been to my benefit, I have more space to play and to show my worth," the striker told AC Milan's official website. "But the team is made of other players who are champions. We don’t think about players who have left, we think of ourselves.
"I dedicate this goal [against Genoa] to president [Silvio] Berlusconi. It was an important goal and an important match. It’s a tough moment. It was an unforgettable birthday, the stuff of dreams."
Coach Massimiliano Allegri echoed El Shaarawy's sentiments, and expressed his support for club president Silvio Berlusconi, who has been sentenced to one year in prison for tax evasion.
"I'm happy with the win, for the players and for the president who's not going through a good period and has always been kind with us, splendid and always close to us," Allegri said. "In this difficult moment for the Italian economy, the president has always kept the squad at high levels and so we have to continue this climb for him and for the club."