Zlatan: He plays with a wrestler’s mentality
Great wrestlers are confident in their abilities. They focus on their positives and do not put limits on themselves. Champions have faith in themselves and ignore the naysayers. The best wrestlers believe that they will win when they step out on the mat. There is one player in football who plays with the same mentality. He is Zlatan Ibrahimovich. The legend who helped AC Milan to be back in UCL.
It was after seven years we saw the mighty AC Milan in the prestigious UEFA Champions League. It’s strange to look back at the Rossoneri and think about what happened to them in the last few years. It was a pretty big downfall for the club after winning the Serie A in 2011. The seven-time Champions League Winners were like an old Lion who just had their history to boast and nothing else.
It was a slow downfall starting from 2011. In the following season, some players left the squad, and one of those players was Zlatan Ibrahimovich. After he left, the club was trying to replace the might gaps with some average players, which didn’t work out. The following season, they wanted to replace him with Mario Balotelli. What Milan wanted to do was to replace the ageing Zlatan. But that was something that they regretted in the future. Balotelli’s performance was not as expected. He was not the person to fill the boots of Zlatan.
In 2017 they signed Andre Silva, who was highly expected to shine at AC Milan. But the outcome was the same as that of Balotelli. It was just another disappointing outcome. The players had quality, but somehow they were not able to adapt with the team. Another ambitious signing, Krzysztof Piatek, arrived at the club with high hopes. But its outcome was also not that good. The fans were feeling like it was a curse. A never-ending curse. They were also getting frustrated as their eternal rivals Inter Milan were coming back strongly to challenge for the title. AC Milan was not yet ready to perform on a higher level after the downfall. They needed more time.
When they were rebuilding the team, there were rumours about Zlatan Ibrahimovich returning to Milan on a free transfer. After replacing him with several other players and not getting results, they might have thought that he couldn’t be replaced. It was just like how Zlatan thinks: ‘No one is higher than Zlatan’.
After his arrival, everything changed in and around AC Milan. He came like a saviour for the club on a six-month contract. The 40-year-old was highly confident about bringing back the club to its peak level. He took that as a challenge and injected some Zlatanesque courage into the team. It was just enough for the team to move forward.
The team was searching for a striker to replace Zlatan all those years. But the club didn’t realise that Zlatan is unique. At last, the club needed him back to prosper and challenge for titles.