This Sunday (6pm) against Sassuolo, the Swede is looking to contribute to the 19th Scudetto in AC Milan history despite a sore knee that could encourage him to end his career.
The day promises to be difficult, even dangerous, for supporters plagued by heart problems. In Switzerland of course, where we first know who from Sion or Lucerne will have to play a barrage of all dangers against Schaffhausen next Thursday and Sunday. Also in England moments later (kick-off of the last ten Premier League matches at 5pm), even though the bookmakers aren’t giving Liverpool many chances to celebrate the title after Manchester City’s misstep at home to Aston Villa.
On the other hand, the tension will be very present in Italy. From 6 p.m., AC Milan and Inter will compete remotely with a knife to win the Grail. One point will be enough for the “Rossoneri”, in Reggio Emilia against Sassuolo, to capture a 19th national crown in case of success for the “Nerazzurri” against Sampdoria. To put Inter on the Italian list. An unexpected inauguration nine months ago for a club that has been plagued by major financial concerns in recent years and whose budget is significantly lower than that of Inter or Juventus.
The memory of 1973
To avoid a tragedy like the one that experienced Verona in 1973 – unlikely last-round defeat and title for Juve – Stefano Pioli is also counting on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Even though the Swede has only made seven small appearances – between one and a maximum of 23 minutes – on the field since January 23, the Milan coach knows better than anyone the enormous influence that Zlatan retains on the group. There is no doubt that, if the circumstances require it, he will not hesitate to throw him into the arena against Sassuolo in the final minutes to try to reverse the course of the match or enjoy unforgettable moments of ecstasy.
At nearly 41 (he will celebrate them on October 3) and with a left knee in bad shape that will undergo surgery in the coming weeks, Ibrahimovic knows his career is coming to an end. And that this duel against Sassuolo could even be the last of an incredible career in which he won eleven league titles with five clubs and in four different countries (Ajax, Inter, Barcelona, Milan and PSG). A very rich record to which we can even add the two Scudetti they collected from the field but were later cancelled, with Juventus in 2005 and 2006. Wouldn’t winning another trophy with AC Milan be the best way to turn the page? to hit?
A hypothesis that Zlatan Ibrahimovic himself did not rule out on May 5. “I’m close to the exit,” he admitted. I’m a little scared: if I have to stop, what should I do? What would be the next chapter? I know the different possibilities, I could do many things, but the adrenaline I have on the field right now, I don’t know if I will be able to find it anywhere else. I’m trying to push this moment away, play and score goals. Of course, in order to keep playing, I have to be in good physical shape, I have to be able to do it, I have to be able to have fun on the field. There’s no point in playing if you’re in too much pain, it’s better to be realistic and say to yourself, “That’s enough”. And you start a new chapter. When I thought about retirement, I couldn’t help my teammates and myself to do what I wanted. The football players follow the same program every day. And I’ve been doing that for 25 years. You are like a soldier. I’m almost at the end, but not yet.
No World Cup in Qatar
However, two other clues confirm the idea that Zlatan could hang Ibrahimovic on Sunday if he wins. As he has always said and reiterated since his return to Milan, he makes it a point of honor to leave football through the front door and bring back a trophy in the prestigious showcase of a club that has not won anything since 2011. Sweden’s elimination from the World Cup play-off this spring, this unlikely Scudetto with AC Milan presents him with a stunning opportunity. He then announced last week that he wants to stop playing the four Nations League matches with Sweden next month. All the more reason to closely observe what will happen on the Reggio Emilia side at the end of the day.