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Ibrahimovic might 'fear' Serie A return – Maldini

11:03 AM SGT 27/10/19
Zlatan Ibrahimovic LA Galaxy 2019
The Swedish star has openly declared his interest in a return to Italy, but not everyone believes he can handle it

AC Milan director Paolo Maldini believes "fear" could hold Zlatan Ibrahimovic back from returning to Serie A.

LA Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic's contract is set to expire and the former Milan, Inter and Juventus striker has been linked with a move back to Italy.

Ibrahimovic, whose side were eliminated from the MLS play-offs by Los Angeles FC, claimed he would score 20 goals a season in Serie A amid growing links to Napoli, Bologna and Inter.

The possibility of Ibrahimovic returning to Milan has also been mentioned as the Rossoneri struggle for goals, however, Maldini cast doubt over the 38-year-old's Italy comeback.

"Ibra would be a dream return for many reasons, but I think within his mind there is a little fear that he won't be the dominant Ibra of old," Maldini told Sky Sport Italia.

"I remember when [former Milan head coach] Carlo Ancelotti put me on the bench for a derby and that's when I realised, I could not accept a season like that. I don't know if Ibra could accept that either.

"Krzysztof Piatek is a good striker. He needs to think more about playing with the team, but his strength is scoring goals."

Ibrahimovic has flourished since moving to Los Angeles from Manchester United in 2018 – scoring 53 goals across two seasons for the Galaxy.

The Swedish star has openly declared interest in playing for Napoli with both the club's coach and president more than open to a possible move. 

"Ibrahimovic is a beautiful person, regardless of my Napoli team," Aurelio De Laurentiis told ESPN.  

"He can still do a lot and he can be a driving force for the team. I'm convinced that any coach would love to have him at their disposal.

"Maybe even as a kind of reference point. He could be one for any team."

Napoli coach Ancelotti meanwhile said last week that he planned to call Ibrahimovic to investigate his interest in joining the club.

"I'll call him tonight and say we're waiting!" Ancelotti told  Sky Sport Italia.

"I have a great deal of affection for him, I saw he scored 29 goals in 30 MLS games. Tomorrow, after I've called him, I'll let you know how it went."