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‘Ibrahimovic’s desire to win has rubbed off on AC Milan’ – Capello tips Swede to inspire Serie A title triumph

14:47 GMT 01/12/2020
Zlatan Ibrahimovic AC Milan 2020-21
The former Rossoneri boss believes an in-form side can maintain their current standards throughout the rest of a productive 2020-21 campaign

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s “desire to win” has rubbed off on those around him at AC Milan to the point that Stefano Pioli’s side are now favourites to land the Serie A title, claims Fabio Capello.

Nine years have passed since the Rossoneri last got their hands on the Italian top-flight crown.

Massimiliano Allegri was their manager back then, with a highly-rated coach proving that he could deliver the grandest of prizes.

Ibrahimovic was another familiar face, with the enigmatic Swede finishing as Milan’s top scorer a year before he headed to Paris Saint-Germain.

Following further stints at Manchester United and the LA Galaxy, San Siro has welcomed a proven performer back with open arms.

Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January and immediately set about spreading his own unique brand of inspiration throughout the club.

Team-mates that had been struggling prior to his arrival have been reborn, with a talismanic presence dragging everyone along with him.

Milan have even shown over recent weeks that they can cope without Ibrahimovic, as the 39-year-old takes in a spell on the sidelines, and Capello considers them to be the side to beat this season.

A man who delivered four domestic titles and a Champions League triumph during his first spell as Rossoneri boss told Corriere della Sera of goings-on in the present: “AC Milan will win the Scudetto, there's no doubt about it because they are the best team in Italy.

“What really impressed me about them was how well they adapted to playing without Ibrahimovic.

“What's happened is that even without him, they have taken on his winning mentality.

“The team understands his great desire to win. A year ago, the same players showed fear, uncertainty and shyness. Now they show courage and determination. With or without Ibrahimovic on the pitch, they know what to do and they do it.

“I think the lack of fans has helped them. In the San Siro you could hear the mumbles and groans from the supporters. Now they are expressing themselves without fear and anxiety.

“They also have a great manager in Stefano Pioli. He's shown at Lazio and Fiorentina he is a coach with great ideas, but he needed time and trust and Milan have given him that.

“They are a great team and I don't think their run will end soon.”

Milan, who are unbeaten in Serie A through nine games, have suffered just one defeat so far this season – against Lille in the Europa League – and will be back in continental action on Thursday when they take in a home date with Celtic.