The big Swede has been pivotal for the resurgent AC Milan and has now revealed how he brings out the best in his teammates.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has opened up on how he piles pressure on his teammates to perform and how he continues to perform at such a high level.
The 39-year-old returned to an ailing AC Milan last January following a goal-laden spell with LA Galaxy in the MLS. Considering the differences between Serie A and the American league, however, the wisdom behind his decision was questioned. Especially for a player who would normally be retired at his age.
But Zlatan proved his doubters wrong and, in the process, helped improve Milan’s fortunes. The Rossoneri are flying high once more and dreaming of a first league title since 2011, having built an early five-point lead in the standings.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) November 30, 2020
“When I play, I bring my character, my personality, and obviously my quality onto the pitch,” Zlatan told UEFA.
“I put a lot of pressure on my teammates, I try to get the most out of each of them.
“Some take it in a good way, others a little less, some cannot handle it. They find it very hard in the sense that you have to perform when we decide that you perform, and I decided that we have to perform every day. The way you train is the way you play.
“Whether you are young or old I put the same pressure on you because if you are here there is a reason; you are here because you are good enough.
“But off the pitch, if you are young obviously I speak to you differently, I treat you differently, the behavior is not the same compared to the older ones. But on the field, they are all the same for me.”
Zlatan has scored 22 goals in 30 games in all competitions since his return to Milan, including 10 in the Serie A this season.
“I’m never satisfied, I always want more and maybe that’s why I’m here today and I’m able to perform and do what I’m doing,” continued the striker.
“I don’t see many players, in the past and in the present, able to perform like I am doing. I consider myself like Benjamin Button, I’m getting younger every day. I need to feel alive, to feel that I am giving something back.”