MILAN (Reuters) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic is more in demand at the age of 38 than 10 years ago and adapts his game with age, the Swedish striker said when he was officially introduced by AC Milan on Friday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic holds up his AC Milan jersey after signing with AC Milan. REUTERS / Daniele Mascolo
Ibrahimovic has returned to the club for six months, which he left seven years ago, with the option of extending his stay. However, there are questions about how much influence he can have on the fallen giants who are eleventh in Serie A.
In their last game, Milan showed a pitiful performance when they were beaten 5-0 at Atalanta, their worst loss in Serie A.
Ibrahimovic helped AC Milan win his last major title, Serie A title in 2010/11, before moving to Paris St. Germain the following year against his will.
He has been a free agent since leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy in November.
"I got more offers at 38 than at 28," he told reporters. "The last time I left AC Milan was without my consent, but the situation was as it was … the important thing is that I am here now."
He said he was still passionate about football, but had learned to adapt with age.
"Every year is different, physically you change with each passing year," he added. "But experience teaches you to do things differently. If you're an intelligent player, you know what you can and can't do. Instead of running, I can shoot from a distance."
He promised not to spare his younger teammates.
"I am meaner than before," he said. "You know how I am, how I train and play every game.
"You have to work hard. You have to know how to suffer, otherwise you won't reach your maximum potential. Not everyone likes to suffer, but I … and I expect a lot from my teammates."
Milan's next game is home to Sampdoria in Serie A on Monday, though it hasn't said whether Ibrahimovic, who hasn't played since October, would make his debut so quickly.
Written by Brian Homewood; Cut by Toby Davis