- Ibra out of action for nine months
- Underwent complex knee surgery
- Set to make a comeback with Milan
WHAT HAPPENED? Ibrahimovic is closing in on a return to football after nine months on the sidelines following ACL surgery. After helping Milan to a Scudetto triumph in 2021-22 he went under the knife to repair his knee and it was initially feared that he could be forced into retirement. However, the 41-year-old vowed that he would return to the pitch and is close to fulfilling that promise after getting back into full training with the Milan squad this week. Ibrahimovic is as confident in his abilities as ever and determined to help Milan bounce back from their disappointing start to the season as Italian champions.
WHAT THEY SAID: The Swede has told Sport Mediaset: "I'm still God, I'm still number one. Now let's change the music when I get back. I really want to do many things, after what I have lost in these months. I wasted time.
"I’m fine, I’m very fine! I’ve returned to the group and I feel free, free on and off the pitch. It means I’m fine. In this period I’ve done everything to help the coach, staff and club from outside. I was patient because I had to come back at the top, the recovery is going according to plan."
When pressed on Milan's poor run of form, Ibrahimovic added: "I'm not worried, these are normal moments within a championship. Now we need to talk little and demonstrate our value on the pitch."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ibrahimovic's also discussed his Milan team-mate Rafael Leao, whose future at the club has been the subject of much speculation as he approaches the final year of his contract. The veteran striker has urged Leao to block out the outside noise and focus on his daily duties at San Siro while talk of a potential summer transfer continues to rage.
"He had a fantastic year, he won the best player in the league award. Then the contract, other clubs looking for you, the World Cup and all the rest," said Ibrahimovic. "But he has to stay focused and play football. Everything the rest is resolved, he just has to think about playing. He has become stronger than a year ago, only this year everyone knows who Leao is, last year instead they were less focused on him. Now however, they know that he is the strongest of all and they are more careful of him."
IN TWO PHOTOS:
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WHAT NEXT? Ibrahimovic is expected to feature in Milan's next Serie A fixture against Torino on Friday at San Siro.