Zlatan Ibrahimovic explained how being champions of Italy makes teams extra motivated to beat Milan this season: ‘You are a target for everyone’. Ibra was speaking with Sky Sport Italia after Milan’s 3-1 defeat to Udinese, a match in which he was handed the captains armband and managed to convert from the penalty spot. The Swede touched on why he was made captain for the game on his return to action, the likelihood of remaining with the club for another season and why it’s fair for Udinese to celebrate because they scored a goal against the Italian champions:
You have the record for the ‘oldest’ goalscorer in Serie A, you’ve surpassed Costacurta:
“It’s better that he keeps this record, I don’t want it (laughs, ed.)”
You’ve entered the history of this club, does this mean you’ll stay at this club again and bond more to the team?
“I am proud to be part of the history of this club. It is a great club with great history, with great players. It has my name on it and it means a lot to me. This goal didn’t bring me three points, which is what I wanted. However, my first game as Milan captain gave me pride, unfortunately it didn’t go our way. But I felt good, then I hadn’t played as a starter for 14 months. The important thing is to feel good, if I feel as good as I do today I have no doubts. I still believe in myself.”
Is there still room for excitement in your career? Can you tell us how the team gave you the armband today?
“In my opinion there is still room. Ismael Bennacer came to my room today and told me he wanted me to be captain. I told him OK, I’ll take this pressure off you (laughs, ed). I was fine, I prepared as best I could. Unfortunately the game didn’t go well, we have to raise the level.”
What happens to this team?
“When you play as champions of Italy you are a target and a stimulus for everyone. This year we play under pressure every game. When you play in a big club it’s like that, everyone wants to beat Milan because they are Italian champions. Look at Udinese, when they score goals, it looks like they scored a goal in a final. But it’s also fair because they score goals against the Italian champions. This team has no experience to play as champions of Italy. That’s why these ups and downs come. We didn’t manage to keep the level high for all the matches, we didn’t manage to stay at the top all the time. It’s not an excuse but an explanation for what happened.”
How do you experience the Champions League from the outside?
“Everyone wants to play in the Champions League. When it was time to give the lists I was not ready, I respect the choice and now I can only prepare my colleagues in the best way in training. I have faith in the team, they’ve done well so far and they’ll do well against Napoli too.”
“Continuing? If I’m well I want to continue. Whoever quits, complains about quitting. If I’m well I can do even more. I suffered too much in these 14 months, I want to take revenge. I am well at AC Milan, it depends on what they are looking for, what the idea is. I’m available, I’m in no hurry”.