'Ibrahimovic is immortal, like Ronaldo' - Ancelotti marvels at AC Milan and Juventus stars' longevity

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Cristiano Ronaldo AC Milan Juventus GFX
The two have a combined age of 74 but are leading the Serie A goalscoring charts so far this season

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is “immortal, like Cristiano Ronaldo” – according to their former manager, Carlo Ancelotti.

The 39-year-old Ibrahimovic is leading the Serie A scoring charts and 35-year-old Ronaldo is in second, with Ibrahimovic’s form sparking a long-awaited title charge from AC Milan.

Ancelotti admits he thought Ibrahimovic’s career was coming to an end when he headed to MLS with LA Galaxy in 2018 but he has continued to shine since then, scoring 53 goals in 58 games in the U.S. and 20 in 29 since his return to Italy.

“When Ibra went to play in America I thought it was the final goodbye,” Ancelotti told Sport Mediaset.

“Instead, he scored in so many games. Now he’s back in Italy, I thought it was the end and, once again, he scores every Sunday. Ask him if I wanted him at Napoli.

“He is immortal, like Cristiano Ronaldo. Continuing to play is easy but they don’t just play, they always score and that's not easy.

“It never happened that I told Cristiano not to play because he is a better player than the others. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand it.”

Ibrahimovic’s goals have helped Milan top the Serie A table going into the international break, two points ahead of second-placed Sassuolo and four clear of champions Juventus.

Despite their good form, Ancelotti thinks there is still something missing from their squad compared to their title rivals.

“They have had great results but I think the Rossoneri are still missing something to be at the level of Juventus and Inter,” Ancelotti said.

“However, do not forget that this is a strange season everywhere in Europe, I’m seeing quite surprising results. Some league leaders would have been unpredictable at the beginning of the season. Anything can happen.”

Ancelotti also spoke about two more of his former players, Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo, who are now forging managerial careers of their own with Napoli and Juve respectively.

“There is a beautiful environment [at Napoli], like family. Naples is a beautiful city, with many contradictions. I had never lived in the South and it was an experience worth doing.

"Gattuso has personality, he made his experiences and I expected him to do a great job. Rino has the skills to do it.

“[Pirlo] doesn’t need advice but I want to give him one: if he has to fail, he must do it with his own ideas and not with those of others.”