Ibrahimovic could play on one leg until he's 50! Totti hails longevity of Milan superstar

By Sports Desk November 21, 2020

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could play up to the age of 50 even on one leg, according to Roma legend Francesco Totti.

Veteran striker Ibrahimovic is still tormenting defences in Serie A at the age of 39 and has eight goals in five league appearances for a Milan side who sit top of the table after seven games.

Ibrahimovic's professional career has spanned over 20 years and taken him to the likes of Barcelona, Inter, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United as well as the Rossoneri.

He has won league titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France and while Father Time catches up with every footballer in the end, Italy World Cup winner Totti is thrilled to see Ibrahimovic still going strong.

Speaking at the presentation for Sinisa Mihajlovic's autobiography, Totti said: "He can play even with one leg up to the age of 50, it's a pleasure to see him still on the pitch.

"He is beautiful, physically strong, he finds the solution you do not expect. I hope to see him again for many years."

Mihajlovic was an assistant coach at Inter when Ibrahimovic represented the Nerazzurri and pondered what a tandem between the Sweden great and Totti may have looked like.

"Zlatan with Totti in the team would have scored at least double the goals, but so would Totti," Mihajlovic said.

Roberto Mancini, the head coach who Mihajlovic assisted at Inter, described why Ibrahimovic – like Totti before him – is able to play at such a high level at this stage of his career.

"Zlatan and Francesco were like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - professionals. For this reason they played and still play up to 40 years," Mancini said.

"They were extraordinary players, Zlatan still is. The physique helps him, but because he was a great professional in everything."

Related items

  • Inter midfielders set benchmark to end misery against Juve Inter midfielders set benchmark to end misery against Juve

    If Juventus are "a benchmark" and "a reference point", as Antonio Conte suggested pre-match, the Inter head coach can now feel much more positive about his side's Scudetto hopes after a superb 2-0 win.

    Conte, formerly the main man in Turin, had good reason to be pessimistic even as the Nerazzurri entered the Derby d'Italia four points ahead of the champions.

    Juve were the only Serie A opponents against whom Conte possessed an 100 per cent losing record, beaten in each of his prior three matches against his former club.

    And Inter's misery in this fixture extended beyond the start of Conte's reign, going seven without a win as Juve used meetings with the Nerazzurri to consolidate their domestic dominance.

    Indeed, there was little reason heading into this match to doubt Juve's credentials, with Andrea Pirlo's side seemingly building up a head of steam in his rookie season.

    The Bianconeri had followed up a shock December defeat at home to Fiorentina with four straight successes in all competitions, scoring 13 times in the process.

    Among those victories was a deserved triumph at league leaders Milan. Juve had not won at both Milan and Inter in the first half of a Serie A season in 80 years; they now had the opportunity to do so in consecutive away games.

    But preparations were not ideal. Cristiano Ronaldo, like opposite number Romelu Lukaku, had not been able to enjoy the week of rest he had set aside, instead called from the bench in a midweek Coppa Italia tie and forced to see out extra time.

    Ronaldo played on the fringes at San Siro, his most notable involvement an 11th-minute tap-in ruled out for offside, with the clash between two of Serie A's foremost scorers not panning out as many would have imagined.

    Lukaku was as influential as ever in the Inter attack, running Giorgio Chiellini ragged as he contested 15 duels, winning nine, earned three fouls and conceded two, and created three chances.

    There was no goal for the forward, though, as the game was decided in the midfield, where Inter were even more impressive, setting the tone right from the outset.

    Marcelo Brozovic anchored the side, Nicolo Barella buzzed all over the pitch, and Arturo Vidal - the subject of a clip on social media that appeared to show him kissing the badge of former club Juve pre-match - made clear where his loyalties now lie.

    Conte had failed to offer an explanation for some slow starts so far this season but certainly had no need to worry about that issue on this occasion. By half-time, Inter's only concern could have been their failure to add to a lead secured by Vidal.

    The midfielder, whose previous Serie A goal back in 2015 had won Juve the title, spread the ball wide to Barella moments after Ronaldo's disallowed goal and then ran onto the subsequent cross, towering over Danilo to nod beyond Wojciech Szczesny and offer a muted celebration.

    That was one of 11 first-half Inter efforts, their joint-high this season. Juve mustered just three before the break, a joint-low for them.

    But this unpredictable Inter side had led 4-1 and trailed 2-0 respectively on the previous two occasions they had attempted 11 shots in the opening 45 minutes this term.

    Juan Sebastian Veron, a former Inter star, told Stats Perform News prior to this game the Nerazzurri would "need to be decisive". Despite the opener, they were anything but.

    Vidal's wait for his next Serie A strike should have lasted only three minutes, but he blazed over. Then so too did Lautaro Martinez after Szczesny saved from Lukaku.

    Martinez shot wide and Szczesny again denied Lukaku, before scrambling to retrieve Barella's deflected drive. A one-goal first-half deficit felt like an escape for Juve.

    But if the Bianconeri were going to make their hosts pay, a swifter start to the second period would have to follow.

    Instead, Inter scored with their very first shot after the break and finally the game was beyond Juve. A slipping Alessandro Bastoni's low, long pass somehow tore a gaping hole through the visiting defence and Barella, a deserving scorer, held off Chiellini and Gianluca Frabotta to finish high into the net.

    Rather than call on Weston McKennie and Dejan Kulusevski to build on an advantage, as against Milan, Pirlo turned to the pair in a desperate, failed rescue bid.

    Juve still had 32 minutes to forge a response after reinforcements arrived, but one strong Samir Handanovic save from Federico Chiesa was all they had to show for a period of pressure.

    Inter could have added further goals on the counter yet will worry not. Indecisive, perhaps, Conte's side ended the weekend level on points with Milan. It is now for Pirlo and Juve, seven points back, to rise to this benchmark.

  • JFF slashes massive debt but financial challenges loom with coming World Cup qualifiers JFF slashes massive debt but financial challenges loom with coming World Cup qualifiers

    The Jamaica Football Federation has managed to slash a sizeable portion of its JMD$300m debt as of the end of 2020, President Michael Ricketts announced at the federation’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday.

    According to the beleaguered president, the JFF has managed to slash its debt to JMD$238 million.

    “We have worked diligently to cut costs wherever we can even with limited sponsorship,” he said. “This year will be particularly challenging as we have the World Cup qualifiers to fund.”

    Ricketts pointed to some of the positives that have taken place recently under his watch and explained why the country’s football is headed in the right direction, even in the face of a pandemic. He was particularly happy that the wheels are in motion to get local players on the field of play.

    “We are very happy that just Wednesday of this week the Ministry of Culture, Entertainment and Sports announced that arising out of discussions with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Technical teams from both ministries will begin a series of meetings with the sporting associations regarding the resumption of some of their activities,” Ricketts said.

    “I, therefore, use the opportunity to advise you that as per this communication, all requests for training and competitions or events must be submitted to the Ministry of Sports.

    He reiterated that clubs, affiliates and event organisers must submit any request through the JFF. “The JFF has been very deliberate in working positively with the ministries and meeting the requirements to ensure that football returns as soon as it is possible to do so,” he said.

     “We intend in these discussions to not only discuss the Premier League but all competitions at the parish level including youth and women’s football.”

    The football president was happy with the progress made by the Premier League Interim Committee (PLJIC), a body which he commissioned at the start of 2020.

    “We asked the President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Mr Christopher Samuda to chair this committee and we invited members of the Premier League clubs; representatives of the JFF board and some independent persons to sit on this committee. The mandate was to review the existing commercial, operational and governance structures, policies and arrangements of the National Premier League (NPL) and recommend proposals for the improvement of these structures, policies and arrangements and prepare a three-year business plan covering 2020/21 through 2022/23 seasons.”

    This body represents the single most fundamental game-changer in the sports and we are already seeing the outcomes.

    He pointed to the formation of the new entity called Professional Football Jamaica Limited which was formed to initially drive the commercialization of the league and overtime all professional competitions. Over $100 million dollars in sponsorships and partnerships have been garnered over the last three months.

    Ricketts pointed out that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the PFJL and the JFF which outlines the relationships between the two bodies and clearly states the responsibility between both. Under the MOU, the JFF retains responsibility for operations and regulations of the league.

     

     

     

  • Inter 2-0 Juventus: Vidal and Barella dent Pirlo's title defence Inter 2-0 Juventus: Vidal and Barella dent Pirlo's title defence

    Inter dealt a blow to Juventus' Serie A title defence and moved level on points with leaders Milan by securing a 2-0 victory at San Siro on Sunday.

    Former Juve midfielder Arturo Vidal opened his Inter account with a 12th-minute header and Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku wasted chances to increase the Nerazzurri's lead.

    The Bianconeri were unable to make the most of those reprieves as an emphatic finish at the end of a route-one move saw Nicolo Barella double Inter's advantage.

    It was enough to give Antonio Conte a first Serie A win against Juve – the club he led to three straight Scudetti at the start of their ongoing run of dominance – and move the hosts level with Milan, who play their game in hand against Cagliari on Monday.

    Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal correctly ruled out for offside but there was no doubt about Vidal's opener a minute later, as the Chile international rose above Danilo to nod Barella's delivery into the left corner.

    Martinez should have doubled Inter's lead in the 23rd minute when he blazed over with the goal gaping after Wojciech Szczesny parried Lukaku's shot straight to him.

    Striker Martinez again failed to hit the target with his next opening, while Lukaku placed an effort from Barella's cutback too close to Szczesny before half-time.

    Inter finally had a second goal in the 52nd minute, Barella surging into a huge gap in the Juve defence and firing Alessandro Bastoni's ambitious pass into the roof of the net.

    Andrea Pirlo responded by sending on Dejan Kulusevski, Federico Bernardeschi and Weston McKennie but Federico Chiesa had their best effort in the 87th minute.

    Samir Handanovic kept out Chiesa's powerful drive with a superb reaction as Inter held on for an important victory.

    What does it mean? Juve with ground to make up

    Juve would have closed to within a point of Inter if they triumphed at San Siro, and they would have still had a game in hand on Conte's men and Milan.

    However, they missed their chance to make up ground and are now seven points adrift of Inter.

    They will find themselves 10 points off the top if Milan win on Monday, meaning winning their game in hand would still not put them firmly in the title picture.

    Brilliant Barella

    Italy international Barella put in a livewire performance against the reigning champions, creating a game-high three chances – including the assist for Vidal's goal – and producing an emphatic finish early in the second half. After managing one goal and four assists in Serie A last season, he has already scored twice and set up five more in the league in 2020-21.

    Vidal sparks controversy

    Pre-game footage showed Vidal embracing Giorgio Chiellini and kissing the Juve badge on his warm-up top. He may have followed it up by scoring his first Serie A goal since clinching the title for Juve in May 2015, but his muted celebrations led to much discussion about where his loyalties lie.

    What's next?

    Juve face Napoli in the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday, while Inter travel to Udinese in Serie A on Saturday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.