Ibrahimovic must 'listen to his body' before deciding future, says Totti

By Sports Desk April 14, 2022

Zlatan Ibrahimovic must "listen to his body" as he ponders his future in football after an injury-hit season with Milan, according to legendary Italian striker Francesco Totti.

The Roma icon also compared Ibrahimovic's stop-start season to the end of his own playing career, although he acknowledged he was often benched despite not suffering from as many injuries as the Swede has.

Ibrahimovic could win his fifth Scudetto in the coming weeks, with Milan holding a slight advantage over Inter, Napoli, and Juventus at the Serie A summit, but has started just 11 of the Rossoneri's 32 league games this term.

The Sweden international, who missed out on the chance to represent his country at the 2022 World Cup after a play-off defeat to Poland last month, has impressed when he has featured in Serie A, netting eight times in 19 league appearances at a rate of 117.25 minutes per goal.

But with Ibrahimovic reportedly set to miss another batch of games after suffering a knee strain, talk has turned to whether the legendary striker could hang up his boots in the near future.

Totti, however, hopes to see the 40-year-old play on if he can continue at a high level.

"Ibra, listen to your body," Totti said. "Finish [the season] with a goal and then decide. Nobody can understand it like me, it's scary. He made history, but now it depends [on his physical condition].

"I hope he will continue as long as he feels like it, but only if his body allows him to be able to be as decisive as he always has been. 

"Ibra is a lion on and off the field. But playing 10 minutes and then stopping, spending more time in the medical room than on the pitch, being given injections, that's heavy. 

"It's been five years [since Totti's own retirement], but I remember all the sensations, and watching Ibra in the last period, I relive them, even if my situation it was a little different from his. I hadn't had any particular injuries.

"I felt I could still give my contribution, but I was quickly pushed aside. I would not wish my last year on my worst enemy. It was very heavy on a mental level.

"[It was] exhausting, because when after a life on the pitch, you do not play continuously, especially at a certain age, you are not letting your body rest, you are making it rust."

 

Totti scored one goal in 18 Serie A appearances during the 2016-17 season, his final campaign with the Giallorossi at the end of an incredible 25-year spell with the club, but all but one of those appearances came from the bench.

The 45-year-old registered 250 goals and 105 assists in a glittering Serie A career which saw him make 618 appearances overall, and said he would have loved to have played with Ibrahimovic.

He also believes Ibrahimovic could move into coaching at the end of his playing career, but would need to find a club capable of matching his ambitious personality.

"If they were to propose to him to be a manager, he must immediately demand clarity and transparency," Totti added. "There are two questions to ask; what should I do? And who should I do it with?

"Ibrahimovic is a brilliant man, if we had played together, with my assists, he would have scored a hundred more goals!"

Related items

  • Simone Inzaghi not satisfied with Inter's last-minute winner against newly promoted Lecce Simone Inzaghi not satisfied with Inter's last-minute winner against newly promoted Lecce

    Inter boss Simone Inzaghi was not pleased with his side's performance in their 2-1 win away from home against Lecce, saying a team with title aspirations can not be relying on a 94th-minute winner.

    The Italian giants – who had the best goal difference in Serie A last season (plus 52) – opened the scoring just 81 seconds in, when loan signing Romelu Lukaku headed home Matteo Darmian's cross from point-blank range.

    Inter controlled 70 per cent of the possession in the first half and appeared good value for their lead, but the entire complexion of the contest changed two minutes into the second half when Assan Ceesay tucked home his left-foot finish low and hard across Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic after a slick counter-attack.

    The 1-1 score would hold until the game's dying moments, when an Inter corner found Lautaro Martinez's head, who flicked it on for substitute defender Denzel Dumfries to force home at the back post.

    Speaking to DAZN after the win, Inzaghi said there were positives to look at, but ultimately his side needs to be more emphatic against a newly promoted team playing their first Serie A game in seven years.

    "A team like ours cannot win these games [in stoppage time]," he said. "We put a lot of heart on the pitch because we won in the 94th minute, but we have to analyse the game. 

    "I am fortunate to have strikers who can play together like [Edin] Dzeko and Lukaku who allow us to play directly, especially on a pitch that was not in great shape at the end, with the midfielders coming in behind them. It is an option that will also be seen in the future.

    "We had an excellent half hour, then we got nervous, losing the measures and conceding the equal goal. We could have scored the double before, but a team like this can't suffer so much, and you can't wait until the last moments to win."

    When probed further about Lukaku, Inzaghi added: "Lukaku? I am happy, he is working hard, he is back and has a great desire and availability. 

    "He can improve like everyone else, but he works like everyone else. He is a driver and he will score a lot of goals from here."

  • Galatasaray interested in signing Spartak Moscow, Jamaica striker Nicholson Galatasaray interested in signing Spartak Moscow, Jamaica striker Nicholson

    Top Turkish club Galatasaray are rumoured to be interested in acquiring the services of Jamaica international Shamar Nicholson.

    The 25-year-old forward only recently secured a move to Russian club Spartak Moscow last summer from Belgian team Charleroi FC for 8m euros and has a contract until 2026.

    The current situation with Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, which has led to the club being suspended from all European competition, could see the player being allowed to leave the team.

    Initially, the club had expressed an interest in both Mauro Icardi, who was expected to leave PSG, and Andrea Belotti, who left Torino, but either deal materialised.  So far this season, Nicholson has played 98 minutes in 3 games but failed to score a goal.

    Last season, Nicholson, who played a total of 34 matches with Charleroi and Spartak Moscow jerseys, scored 21 goals and made 7 assists.

  • Tuchel backs Gallagher and Hudson-Odoi to fight for minutes at Chelsea Tuchel backs Gallagher and Hudson-Odoi to fight for minutes at Chelsea

    Thomas Tuchel has backed Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi to fight their way into first-team contention at Chelsea. 

    However, the Blues boss was philosophical when asked whether either England international could leave in the transfer window, adding: "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale."

    Gallagher appeared as a late substitute in Chelsea's opening-day Premier League win over Everton last week, while Hudson-Odoi was absent from the Blues' squad at Goodison Park.

    Both players have been linked with moves away due to the competition for places at Stamford Bridge, with Hudson-Odoi a reported target for Borussia Dortmund and Gallagher widely admired after racking up eight Premier League goals and three assists on loan at Crystal Palace last term.

    While Tuchel recognises N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic represent stern competition for Gallagher, he wants to see him realise his undoubted promise at Chelsea.

    "Conor fights in central midfield," Tuchel said ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham. "To be honest, it is a very tough fight for him because, at the moment, it seems we only have two places in central midfield. 

    "Given the amount of players we have for central midfield, it isn't ideal, I agree. But we have to do what's best for the squad, not just for each individual player.

    "But at the moment, he is absolutely fine. I am a huge fan of Conor. He is a fantastic guy, and this is what we already knew, in the first weeks of training, he has shown how much of a step he has made through having so much playing time.

    "It is a very, very normal situation and his development is that at the moment, after some fantastic training sessions in the beginning, there is a little dip in his form and freshness. 

    "On top of that, there's a huge competition with N'Golo, Jorgi and Kova, who are used to playing with each other. 

    "This is also life in a big club like Chelsea, so everything is in its right place. We are happy with him. He keeps on fighting, and this is what he does. I think he has everything to become very important in the next years at Chelsea."

    Hudson-Odoi has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga on several occasions, having only started 32 Premier League games for Chelsea since his 2018 debut, but Tuchel is also keen to hold onto him.

    "Callum is the same. He had a long-term injury and long-term problems to overcome," Tuchel said. "I think he still has a way to go to live up to his potential. His potential is huge. 

    "I think having Raheem [Sterling] in can give him an extra boost to step up and see what's needed in these kinds of positions to reach the levels he can honestly reach. 

    "But at the moment, he is our player, and he needs to fight, fight, fight. I have nothing more to say."

    But with over two weeks remaining in the transfer window, Tuchel refused to rule out a change in the club's strategy.

    "In general, nobody is for sale,", Tuchel added. "Nobody is for sale, and everybody is for sale. 

    "It depends on what the player wants, how bad the player wants it, what we think about who is ready to pay a certain amount of money, and then maybe everybody is for sale."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.