AC Milan’s defender Dalot shared what it is like to work alongside legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
When Diogo Dalot first arrived at Manchester United, the young defender was eager to fulfill his dream of playing with Sweden international Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, the striker decided to move to the MLS before the pair could step out onto the field together.
“It was a little bit of a sad moment for me,” Dalot confesses in an interview with The Associated Press. “When you play football, you always want to play with the best players and, of course, Zlatan was a reference.”
Several years later, Dalot’s dream was finally about to come through as he joined the Rossoneri on loan. As expected, Ibrahimovic has played a huge role in his recent development as a player.
“He’s always one of the first to come into the training ground. So these kind of things help us to see that maybe we need to be as professional as him because, if you want to win as much as he won, you need to be doing this for a long time.
And this is a very good way to see how you want to be a success in football, how you want to be in 10 years or in 15 years. And it’s been a very good surprise to work with him.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is brutally honest with his teammates.
Dalot’s short experience playing alongside Ibrahimovic has helped the young defender restore his confidence levels. Moreover, the 21-year-old has been enjoying having more regular game time at AC Milan.
“He can give you the confidence when he thinks you need (it),” said the Portuguese. “‘You’re not doing good enough to be at this level,'” Zlatan warns. “Coming from him we need to listen.”
“I’m a confident person. I know my qualities. I know what I can do, but then if you don’t play that’s not enough. Feeling the grass again, feeling the games again, winning games and playing 90 minutes … it’s been fantastic.”