Ibrahimovic compared to Federer by Milan boss Pioli

By Sports Desk April 30, 2020

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli compared star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to tennis legend Roger Federer.

Ibrahimovic made an instant impact after re-joining Milan in January prior to the Serie A season being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A title winner with Milan, Inter, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Ajax, Ibrahimovic had scored four goals across all competitions in his second coming at San Siro following his arrival from LA Galaxy.

Amid doubts over Ibrahimovic's future at Milan – where he only signed an initial deal until the end of the season – due to the COVID-19 crisis, Pioli likened the 38-year-old to 20-time grand slam champion and fellow veteran Federer.

"I spoke to him, he's doing well," Pioli said during an Instagram Live chat. "I think talent is an innate quality and it's not difficult for me to spot it, but talent can be worked on and improved.

"I set the example of Roger Federer, as he was born with that talent, but worked constantly every day to become probably the greatest tennis player who ever lived.

"We also saw great natural talents wasted, perhaps because they were unwilling to make the sacrifices and work hard. I trained Miroslav Klose, the striker who scored the most goals in the World Cup.

"Even Ibra tells me his only objective every day is to improve his performance and that's what it's all about."

Related items

  • Zidane blasts Hazard critics as star nears Real Madrid return Zidane blasts Hazard critics as star nears Real Madrid return

    Eden Hazard is "very close" to a return to full fitness as Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refuted suggestions the forward lacked professionalism. 

    The Belgium star has struggled to find his rhythm in Spain following his initial €100million switch from Chelsea in June last year.

    He managed a solitary goal in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu as he battled to regain top condition after undergoing surgery on a broken right foot.

    Zidane hinted that Hazard is primed for action for the first time this season, though stopped short of confirming his spot in the team for Wednesday's clash with Real Valladolid.

    "I think he's very close to a return," said Zidane. "He is prepared and training well with the team.

    "The issue is that he hasn't been able to train much until now, but now he is back training regularly. So, we'll see what happens.

    "What he wants is to play. He had a big problem that caused him issues for a long time, but now it seems like he is fine.

    "The season is very long and he is a professional. He does not lack professionalism. What he wants is to be with his team-mates and to play."

    Asked if he was looking to add to his squad in what remains of the transfer window, Zidane pointed out the difficulties he already faces in picking the LaLiga champions' strongest XI.

    Vinicius Junior is one player who is having to contend with being on the periphery, although Zidane insists he is content with the winger.

    "I'm very happy with the squad that I have," he said. "Adding more players would not be ideal.

    "I'm already struggling to choose between the players that I have. I have the best squad.

    "I'm very happy with Vinicius. He wants to play like every player, I pick my starting line-up every match, and of course I count on Vinicius, he is a great player."

    Zidane's side responded to their opening-game draw with Real Sociedad by winning 3-2 at Real Betis last time out. 

  • Bayern winger Sane ruled out of DFL-Supercup against Dortmund Bayern winger Sane ruled out of DFL-Supercup against Dortmund

    Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane has been ruled out of the DFL-Supercup match against Borussia Dortmund with a knee injury.

    Sane sustained the problem in Sunday's shock 4-1 away defeat to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

    He will subsequently be missing for Wednesday's Klassiker contest with Dortmund, while David Alaba is a doubt and will be checked closer to kick-off due to a muscular injury.

    Sane, who scored on his debut for the club against Schalke this month after signing from Manchester City, will also be out for Bayern's weekend league meeting with Hertha Berlin, their last game before the international break.

    "David has muscular problems, so we have to wait and see how that develops," explained head coach Hansi Flick at his pre-match news conference.

    "But Leroy is out - he has a capsule injury in his right knee and hopefully he will be back after the international break."

    Dortmund beat Bayern 2-0 in the 2019 Supercup, with Flick's men, who had won it in the previous three years, at home for this meeting as they look to bounce back from the Hoffenheim loss.

    "Dortmund have a fantastic, young side and they also have experience in their ranks," said Flick.

    "They play attractive, offensive football, which I like. This will be a test against one of Germany's best. This game will help to develop us.

    "My team's mentality is absolutely outstanding. Maybe one or two of them are slightly tired, but they always give 100 per cent on the pitch.

    "That was also the case in Hoffenheim, but unfortunately, we didn't do some things that well that day."

    With Sane injured, Champions League final hero Kingsley Coman is in contention to join Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller in support of striker Robert Lewandowski.

  • Murray planning busy finish to 2020 after French Open woe Murray planning busy finish to 2020 after French Open woe

    Andy Murray is planning a busy finish to 2020 in a bid to bounce back from his disappointing first-round exit at the French Open.

    The Briton lost 6-1 6-3 6-2 to Stan Wawrinka in Paris on Sunday to follow up a second-round departure at the US Open.

    In the immediate aftermath of his French Open loss, Murray vowed not to "brush aside" the heavy defeat and insisted he would analyse it to understand the reasons.

    Looking ahead to the remainder of a year that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the 33-year-old has discussed plans to play two consecutive indoor ATP 250 events in Cologne next.

    "I know tournament-wise I'm going to try to play as much as I can between now and the end of the year," he told reporters.

    "The plan is to play in Cologne, the two tournaments there.

    "Probably the only positive of [going out early] is I will get more time to prepare on the indoor hard courts for that."

    Later in the year, Murray hopes to travel to Australia, with the ATP Cup a possibility at the start of next season after he had to withdraw through injury earlier this year.

    "We don't know exactly what the rules are going to be for Australia, but it's looking like you'll have to get there very early to prepare for that," he said.

    "I'd like to play in the ATP Cup because I was supposed to last year [the 2020 edition], and it looked like a great event – or [I will play] another ATP event on in Australia at the beginning of the year if I'm not in the ATP Cup team.

    "My plan is to for sure go to Australia. I just don't know exactly what the exact situation is in terms of what date we would have to go, because by the sounds of it, it's pretty early, like mid-December."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.