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'He was sold to balance the books' - Galliani says returning Ibrahimovic did not want to leave Milan

13:47 GMT 28/12/2019
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Milan
The experienced forward is usually the master of his own destiny, but it has now been revealed that his Rossoneri departure was forced upon him

Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani says Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not want to leave the club when he was sold in 2012, conceding that the striker was moved on in order to “balance the books”.

Ibrahimovic is back in Milan colours after agreeing to rejoin the club Friday on a short-term deal until the end of the campaign. The 38-year-old will move as a free agent following the expiry of his contract at MLS side LA Galaxy.

The former Sweden striker scored 56 goals in 85 appearances for the Rossoneri between 2010 and 2012.

He helped the club win the Italian Super Cup and Serie A title in his first season at San Siro but left for Paris Saint-Germain the following summer after they finished trophy-less during the 2011-12 campaign.

Galliani says that failure to retain the title proved crucial, with the club then forced to move Ibrahimovic on at the end of the season.

“Ibra certainly did not want to leave Milan. He was sold to balance the books,” Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“He has always been the one to decide his destiny, except on that occasion. Together we won the Scudetto his first year, the last for Milan before Juventus started their record-breaking run, and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2011.

“In January 2012, it was all done for Alexandre Pato to join PSG and we'd bring Carlos Tevez in from Manchester City. What a dream pairing, Ibra-Tevez!

“The whole deal fell apart and who knows what could've happened? I think we would've continued winning, as at that time we were still in front of Juve. History changed, Milan finished second and in the summer of 2012, the old guard moved on.”

Galliani admits that Ibrahimovic was not happy at being forced to leave but says their personal relationship has since been repaired, paving the way for his return.

“He wasn't talking to me for a while,” Galliani added. “Once he got over the disappointment of having to leave Milan, he gave an interview in which he spoke highly of me and our relationship.”