Zlatan Ibrahimović told everyone that Milan would win the Scudetto – and he was right! But he still doesn’t know whether he’ll retire or not.
May 22, 2022 – the day Milan won their 19th Scudetto in history, finishing the season with 86 points, 2 more than Inter.
Huge celebration began at the end of the 3-0 over Sassuolo at Mapei Stadium, and Zlatan stole the show at the ceremony post-match, walking on stage with a huge bottle of champagne in hand and a huge cigar in his mouth – celebrating like the legend that he is.
This is the second Milan Scudetto of Zlatan, who won it with the Rossoneri in 2011 and in 2022.
“I kept my promise. I promised everyone that we would win the Scudetto and that I’d bring Milan back to where they belong,” Ibra told MilanTV after the game. “The best thing is that some didn’t believe me and some laughed but I’m here and now we’re Campioni d‘Italia. I’m so pleased because when you believe in something so strongly and you work and achieve it, there’s no better feeling than that. I even got the Coach to believe that we’d win the Scudetto and got the team to believe as well and the team responded and showed great desire. They were all willing and these are the rewards for the sacrifice, for suffering and for working and believing. When these things all come together, anything is possible.
“I’m happy for the team because I’ve really grown to adore this team with great emotion. Lots of different personalities, characters and a lot of youngsters, I made my presence felt every day, applying pressure so that results could be achieved, not only when we played but also during training. How you train is how you play. This is my philosophy and mentality. The team needed a pilot, I arrived and became the pilot, and we won.”
On Leão: “Everyone knew that Leão had enormous potential. I tried to put him through his paces every day and in every match. However, to tell the truth, his growth isn’t thanks to me. He should get the credit. He realized just how good he is and what he could bring to the team. He made a difference throughout the year. I’d like to congratulate him. He could become truly frightening, when he understands just how strong he is, he can reach his true potential and be even stronger.”
On if he has changed: “I’m a different Zlatan now: I’m more experienced, and do this for others. All of this wasn’t for my personal benefit, I arrived here two and a half years ago. I left my family behind in Sweden. My attitude was objective and the aim was to help Milan, the team and Coach and bring joy to the fans. They deserve this because they’re always behind us in good times and bad times. I’ve done all this for others. I haven’t done it to feed my ego, I brought zero ego. This adventure at Milan, has been an incredible satisfaction. When you have belief in what you’re doing, it’s absolutely fantastic. Now, we’re the Campioni d’Italia. Many believed it wouldn’t happen.”
On what made him fall in love with Milan: “First and foremost, President Berlusconi and Capo Galliani brought back my happiness when I was at Barcelona. When people do such things for me, I try to reciprocate as much as I can. They enriched me but not as a football; rather, as a person. The first day I stepped foot into Milanello, I felt at home. I’ve said it time and time again: when you’re at Milanello there’s no rush to leave because you’re already home. There’s no need to return home. I’ve got a good relationship with the fans. The city of Milano is a second home to me. What can be said? Everything’s great. Everything is perfect.”
On dedicating the Scudetto: “I dedicate this victory to Mino Raiola who is sadly no longer by my side. It’s the first trophy I’ve won without him. He was the person who said I should return to Milan and help the Club and bring it back to where it should be. He said I was the only one who could do this. I dedicate this triumph to him.”
On the project of Milan: “This is another project, it’s completely different compared to the Berlusconi era. When Berlusconi was here, he only had to mention a name and that player arrived. It was a different era. He brought the best players to Milan. This project is different. It’s a long-term endeavor, the situation is completely different. When this is the case, you need to work differently. You need to create a really strong group, which is what we’ve done and win this way. It involved a lot of sacrifice and a lot of suffering, but the group has managed to do all these things. Whether this continues depends on the Club and the objectives it has. We’ve achieved the maximum in Italy. In terms of Europe, the group has a bit of experience now. A lot of our guys had their first Champions League experience this season.”
Speaking to Sky Italia, Ibra said: “It’s beautiful, last time we won there was me. 11 years later we win and I’m here. When I arrived here I made a promise, and I kept it. Many laughed when I said that we’d win the Scudetto again, but we worked hard and showed the team what it means to suffer for your results.”
On the last weeks: “I’ve suffered a lot, yes. I dedicate this to Mino, he was one of those who wanted me at Milan and told me I was the only one who could save Milan. I dedicate this trophy to him.”
On what would Raiola say right now: “Let’s play another 10 years and steal more money!”
On the future and his form: “I need to be in good shape, I need to do things. When I feel good, then I’ll see what the situation is. I still feel that I can make the difference when I’m on the pitch. I don’t see another Ibra out there. I will make a decision over the next few days.”
On the last period: “I had a really tough time lately, it was bad both physically, but also for other personal matters. At the end of the day, I did everything I could to help Milan win this trophy. I was afraid that I might have to quit, but I want to do it my way.”
On talking in the locker room: “Naturally, I talk a lot in the locker room, I told everyone to stay concentrated, as it’s easy in these situations to lose your head. It is revenge for many players that people didn’t believe in.”
On his disallowed goal against Sassuolo: “A chance, a goal… It was good, a fantastic cross from Leão.”
On the difference from the 2011 Scudetto: “It’s a huge difference. The team 11 years ago was 22 champions who had won it all, we were the favorites going in every season. The current squad is full of young players, we put pressure on and let them understand what Milan represents. It’s a whole other story.”
The big Swede also had an interview with DAZN: “It is my greatest satisfaction. When I came back, I said in the press conference that I would bring Milan back to the top. A lot of people laughed and instead we are here now, having won the Scudetto. We have made so many sacrifices, but nothing is impossible. I’ve suffered a lot this year, I will speak in the next few days but I want to enjoy this trophy.”
On the team’s growth: “When I arrived it was a certain Milan and now it’s another Milan. I passed on what I could to the youngsters. I did everything to be able to help the team also off the pitch. The team has always been very helpful. They needed a pilot to guide them, I arrived, I did it, and we won.”
On Pioli: “The coach has done great things. We worked hard and in the end we won. It was a complicated situation. We grew a lot. The coach gives me great responsibility, he was a bit stressed in the last months but I was by his side.”
On the future: “First I have to do something to feel well. If I feel well then it wasn’t my last game. If I’ll have surgery? Let’s see…”
On dedicating the win: “I dedicate it to Raiola. I was close to joining Napoli but then he told me that I was the only one who could save Milan. So I dedicate it to him.”