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'I like Ibrahimovic a lot' - Milinkovic-Savic reveals admiration for LA Galaxy star

09:10 IST 24/04/2019
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Lazio midfielder has revealed he is a big fan of the Swede and that he was always going to stay in Serie A despite strong interest from abroad

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has revealed that he admires LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and feels they share a similar playing style.

The Serbian was described as the "Ibrahimovic of the midfield" by veteran manager Fabio Capello.

And it was a comparison that flattered the 24-year-old as he revealed he's been tracking the Swede's career for a while now. "I like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic a lot," he told Goal and DAZN. "I've been following him for years now. I like him as a player and as a person.

"[The comparison] might be because I’m as tall as him and because of his technique. I have a similar jumping style to him as well, so I like him because of all those aspects."

Milinkovic-Savic had a stellar campaign last season, scoring 14 goals and chipping in with eight assists in all competitions as Lazio finished fifth in Serie A.

This season, however, has seen the Serbian retreat to a more defensive central midfield role with Luis Alberto being afforded a more advanced position. And that tactical tweak has impacted on his goal tally, with Milinkovic-Savic scoring just five goals thus far.

Three days before Christmas, he scored in Lazio’s 3-1 win against Cagliari, ending a goal drought that had spanned 15 games - a barren run that had affected him mentally.

He added: "I missed scoring goals a lot and with that one, I lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Last season I scored often, so people were already criticising me saying I wouldn’t score again.

"I read a lot, unfortunately, that’s my main issue. But that’s okay, as I always looked ahead.

"I had many friends who helped me keep my head up, along with my team-mates and family. I can say that it was a tough period for me.

"But I’ve played further back on the pitch as well this season, because Luis [Alberto] has played many games this year, so he plays higher up and I fall in behind him.

"But as I’ve said many times already, it is not important if I score a lot or not, what is important is always giving it my all to help the team win the match."

Milinkovic-Savic was the subject of interest among many of Europe’s elite clubs last summer, as well as in January, and Lazio president Claudio Lotito admitted he turned down a €160 million (£139m/$179m) bid for one of the club’s stars. He refused, however, to name the player in question.

"I already knew in those final days that I would stay here at Lazio," the midfielder said when asked about the transfer speculation. 

"I was already fully concentrated on this team. I obviously read those rumours that came out in the last days, but I didn’t pay much attention to them as I knew my future was here. I was only thinking about Lazio."