When Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in the winter of 2019, he did so with one target in mind – to become a Serie A champion once more. Not since he formed part of a championship-winning side in 2010-11 had the Scudetto ended up in ownership of the Rossoneri.
To many from the outside looking in, an enigmatic Swedish striker was pursuing a goal that even he would find it difficult to reach. If history has taught us anything, though, it is that Zlatan should never be written off.
Within two and a half years of his homecoming at San Siro, Ibrahimovic had his hands on the Italian top-flight crown once more. He had proven to be capable of providing inspiration on and off the field, with his individual pursuit of excellence rubbing off on the collective.
The question now is: Can he do it again? Any football betting prediction drawn up before a ball was kicked in 2022-23 was going to have Milan sitting prominently among title hopefuls. Having waited so long to return to the summit, such a standing will not be surrendered without a fight.
Our people, our colours: this is #ACMilan, we are the CHAMPIONS OF ITALY
— AC Milan
(@acmilan) May 22, 2022
It remains to be seen how prominently Ibrahimovic figures in the defense of a prize that is once again n going to push bodies to breaking point. He cannot handle the workload he once could, when an uncomfortable weight of expectation was piled onto his broad shoulders, but there is still a role to be played.
There has been no indication that boots will be hung up any time soon, with retirement talk something that Ibrahimovic is happy to let others indulge in. There is no chance that he will walk away on anything less than his own terms.
The plan is to ensure that said path will be trodden once more major silverware has been collected. One of the most decorated players on the planet will never be happy with his lot, with it that desire to keep pushing forward that has allowed an evergreen frontman to remain at the highest possible level.
His CV is an enviable one, with trophy triumphs taken in while gracing Dutch, Italian, Spanish, French and English football. There was a time when it was taken for granted that Ibrahimovic would end any given campaign with a title winners’ medal around his neck.
He has now got back into that habit and has the chance to make another bit of history in the current campaign. As things stand, an all-time great has savored domestic glory at Ajax, Inter, Barcelona, Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
In total, he has 12 league titles to his name. That is a quite remarkable achievement, and one that only an iconic figure at Manchester United can claim to have bettered. The man in question is Red Devils legend Ryan Giggs.
The Welshman won the Premier League on 13 occasions during his time at Old Trafford, placing him at the top of a notable honors board. That number may be considered unlucky to some, but that is unlikely to be the case for Ibrahimovic if Milan are able to cement their standing as Serie A kings in 2023.