Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains as competitive as ever at 38 years of age and continues to make “everyone else better”, says AC Milan team-mate Asmir Begovic.
Two experienced performers made their way to San Siro during the winter transfer window, with the Rossoneri eager to bolster their ranks.
Bosnian goalkeeper Begovic was taken on loan from Bournemouth, while the familiar face of Ibrahimovic was returned to Italy after bringing a spell in MLS with the LA Galaxy to a close.
The enigmatic Swede savoured Serie A title success during a previous spell with Milan and has shown no sign of slowing down despite approaching the end of a distinguished career.
Begovic is among those to have been impressed by the standards Ibrahimovic sets, with his relentless pursuit of perfection continuing to rub off on those around him.
The former Chelsea keeper told The Guardian of an enigmatic club colleague who has starred all over the world: “He has had such a huge impact; his personality, his leadership, his quality on the pitch.
“The best thing about him is how competitive he is. At his age, he is still pushing every day to be the best.
“He is a team player in so many ways, his standards make everyone else better. He can change games with his presence. A world-class player who is a joy to watch.”
Another of those to have caught Begovic’s eye during his time in Milan is goalkeeping rival Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The Italy international is still just 21 years of age, but he has been a first-team star since the age of 16 and is fast closing in on 200 appearances at club level.
He has been tipped to reach the very top of the game, with his potential having been noted by the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid, and Begovic admits there is no ceiling for a precocious talent.
“He can be anything he wants to be,” Begovic said of Donnarumma.
“He is one of the top goalkeepers in the world right now and if he keeps going like this it’s only a matter of time before he becomes unanimously the best.
“He is phenomenal, a huge talent and a good guy too, with a very good work rate. What he has already achieved in the game is quite remarkable really. I can only see good things in the future for him.”