Milan head coach Stefano Pioli is in no doubt over Zlatan Ibrahimovic's enduring value as talks continue over the possibility of an extended stay at San Siro for the veteran striker.
Ibrahimovic returned to Milan from MLS side LA Galaxy in January on a short-term deal – a transfer that proved something of a catalyst for an impressive second half of the campaign that ultimately saved Pioli's job.
The 38-year-old scored 10 times in 18 top-flight appearances, becoming the oldest player to reach double figures for a season in Serie A history.
In an interview with Milan premium sponsor Skrill, Pioli explained Ibrahimovic's influence upon a developing squad extends far beyond that weight of numbers.
"Zlatan is a great professional," he said. "He teaches young players, is a yardstick for his team-mates and is very respectful.
"His secret is the desire to want to win and always improve."
One man certainly showing healthy signs of improvement at Milan is goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma
The highly rated 21-year-old kept 14 clean sheets across all competitions in 2019-20 and took on the captaincy over the closing weeks of the season in Alessio Romagnoli's injury absence.
"He is extraordinarily talented and wore the captain's armband that belongs to Romagnoli with great personality," Pioli said.
"He is one of the strongest goalkeepers in the world and has ample room for improvement ."