Ibrahimovic: I didn't come to Milan as a mascot to dance on the sidelines

Omnisport
Milanello, Milan's mascot, should not expect company from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose focus is on the pitch at San Siro.
Milanello, Milan's mascot, should not expect company from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose focus is on the pitch at San Siro.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is determined to have an impact in his second spell at Milan, saying he is not back at San Siro to join Milanello the mascot on the sidelines.

Ibrahimovic met the media as he completed his free transfer from LA Galaxy to the Rossoneri on Friday.

The 38-year-old acknowledges very few players get to join one of the world's elite clubs in the twilight of their career, yet he intends to impress on the field.

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"I don't remember how many signed for Milan at 38," Ibrahimovic told a news conference. "If it happened, it means that I still have something to give.

"I don't come as a mascot, to stand next to the devil [Milanello] and dance. I'm here to help out on the pitch.

"I'm happy. It's also a test for me that shows that what I'm doing works and still has value."

Ibrahimovic confirmed there was the possibility of a move to Milan last year, but he chose to stay in MLS, where he was enjoying his football again following a serious knee injury at Manchester United.

"I spoke to Leonardo, it is true, but I did not feel ready to return," he said. "I was fine in Los Angeles and played continuously.

"When I went to America, I wanted to feel alive after the injury.

"I feel ready to play in Italy and help Milan. When I was in Paris, we didn't talk about a return. There was no contact."

Discussing the nature of his return this month, Ibrahimovic claimed he received more offers than when he previously joined Milan from Barcelona in 2010.

"After the last game with the Galaxy, I received a call from Paolo Maldini and we discussed ideas and plans for the future," he said. "At 38, I had more requests than when I was 28.

"However, it was not a difficult decision: when I left Milan, I didn't want to leave, I adapted. Now I am here again and will do everything to improve things.

"Milan is like my home. When I came here from Barcelona, I found the happiness of playing football here. I hope to return something.

"I am here with the greatest desire. I respect this club so much."

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