Zlatan gives and Zlatan takes away.
Even when he is not directly involved in a fight to win silverware, the evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic can’t help but get involved in the mix.
The Swedish AC Milan hero gave rivals Juventus a major helping hand on his return to action from injury last week. The striker, playing in his first game since the return to action in Italy post-coronavirus lockdown, fired home from the penalty spot to inspire Milan to a 3-0 thumping of Lazio, derailing the Rome side’s hopes of winning the Serie A title, and helping Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in their bid to claim a ninth consecutive crown in the process.
That intervention from Zlatan put Lazio seven points behind leaders Juventus with eight games to play.
All over, you might think. But that’s not how Zlatan plays the game.
Only a few days later, he was constructing an astonishing comeback for Milan to dent Juve’s own hopes of defending their crown.
One thing that it is as consistent as his goalscoring is the goatee-bearded one’s demand for the spotlight, be it through arrogant claims, outrageous strikes or big-money moves to yet another top club in the pursuit of glory (and pennies).
So, you could almost guarantee that Ibra would be scripting his own plot for AC Milan’s clash against Juventus on Tuesday.
So it came to pass. Milan were 2-0 down, Juve and Ronaldo cruising to another win and another title. Enter Zlatan,… The 38-year-old pulled one back — again from the spot — to trigger an astonishing turnaround as Milan scored three times in five second-half minutes in a 4-2 victory.
He just cannot resist stealing the spotlight — even from supermen such as Ronaldo.
Ever one to blow his own trumpet, Zlatan claimed after the thrilling win over Juventus that had he been at the club and free from injury all season, Milan and not Juve would be top of the table.
Ibrahimovic’s return to Milan in the winter transfer window has coincided in a reversal of fortunes for the San Siro giants. The side, who have struggled in the past decade to live up to their past glory days, and Zlatan is not one to let these things pass without comment.
“It’s no secret that I’m old but it’s just a number,” he said after the match. “I wanted to feel alive and I just want to play. I’m sorry I came halfway through the season. If I was here from day one, we’d have won the championship.”
While Ibrahimovic indicated he won’t be staying beyond this season — a stint back home in Sweden looks likely — you can guarantee he will be front and centre of any drama wherever he ends up next.