Adriano Galliani has spoken about the return of Zlatan Ibrahimović to Milan, revealing some stories about his arrival in 2010 and exit in 2012.
Milan announced yesterday that Ibrahimović has signed a contract with the Rossoneri, tying him to the club until the end of the season, with an option to renew for another full campaign.
This will therefore be Ibra’s second period at Milan, as he wore the Red and Black jersey from 2010 and 2012, helping the club win their 18th Scudetto.
The person who bought Zlatan back then (and then sold him to PSG two years later), Adriano Galliani, gave an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport to discuss the 38-year-old’s return:
Here we go again: he comes Zlatan again. Does he still look like the player you brought to Milan in August 2010?
“Zlatan has such moral strength, charisma and determination that he will always be decisive. In 31 years of Rossonera history I’ve never seen a player hang another player on the wall because he wasn’t trying hard enough… I’ve seen plenty of quarrels, of course, but never someone hanging on the wall, in the literal sense of the word. That’s the way Ibra is and he’ll do it again if he sees a teammate not training hard enough. On the contrary, this time he will feel this responsibility even more: Zlatan will bring pure air.”
Will he also be a player of 56 goals in 85 games like in the first two seasons?
“Technically he can make a difference. He has a devastating physicality, in 15 days he’ll be at his best condition. He will be determinant on and off the pitch.”
Did you really want to take him with you to Monza?
“Very much so… I called him to offer him a great journey together. He laughed. Then he understood that I was not joking and became serious: ‘Ehm, boss…’ He declined the invitation and chose Milan, so that’s OK. He has chosen a solution that makes me happy in the same way.”
You had convinced him when he was a star in the middle of his career. Together, you got off a private jet on August 29, 2010, after a very long negotiation. Do you remember?
“I was leaving for Barcelona were Zlatan and Raiola were, but not Sandro Rosell, the club’s President. He had been in Ibiza on holiday but thanks to your great friendship I’d convinced him to return. As a superstition, the ritual was the same as in 2008 when I returned to Milan with Ronaldinho: departure from the Pisa airport, same hotel, same restaurant, Botafumeiro, which still has on the wall a photo of Dinho and me. I remember the villa on the hill of Ibra where I went for the last details. It was a great deal: €24m payable in 3 years; the year before that, Barça had bought him for more than double that.”
A deal to celebrate. What happened?
“Dinner at the restaurant. When I went to pay, neither of my two credit cards were working. I was trying again and again, but nothing. Ibra had to pay, giving me a look. But I reassured him: stay calm, the money is there. Then he laughed like a madman.”
It was a success story that ended after two years. Who chose to separate?
“Of course not Ibra. He absolutely did not want to leave. He was sold for budgetary reasons. He’s always decided his own fate, except on that occasion. Together we won the Scudetto in the first year, the last of Milan before the Juventus record, and the Supercoppa in 2011. The following year we came in second, it was the year of Muntari’s ghost goal in Milan-Juve in February. But before that, in the January market, it was all about the sale of Pato to PSG and the arrival of Tevez from Manchester City. A dream, the Ibra-Tevez duo… it all blew up and who knows what could have been. I think we would’ve continued to win, at that time we were still ahead of Juve. It changed history, Milan came in second. We arrived at the same of 2012, the summer of the farewell of the senators.”
Zlatan went to Paris Saint-Germain, what did he say?
“He was silent for some time. But some time later he did an interview in which he spoke very well of me and of our relationship. He said that after winning the Scudetto, I went into the dressing to take the Scudetto out of an Inter jersey and give it to them: ‘Now this is ours!’ Zlatan was impressed, it’s one of the many things that bind us together.”
Yesterday Ibra officially returned. Your message?
“Just a greeting: welcome back warrior!”