Zlatan Ibrahimovic is determined to have an impact in his second spell at Milan, saying he is not back at San Siro to join Milanello the mascot on the sidelines.

Ibrahimovic met the media as he completed his free transfer from LA Galaxy to the Rossoneri on Friday.

The 38-year-old acknowledges very few players get to join one of the world's elite clubs in the twilight of their career, yet he intends to impress on the field.

"I don't remember how many signed for Milan at 38," Ibrahimovic told a news conference. "If it happened, it means that I still have something to give.

"I don't come as a mascot, to stand next to the devil [Milanello] and dance. I'm here to help out on the pitch.

"I'm happy. It's also a test for me that shows that what I'm doing works and still has value."

Ibrahimovic confirmed there was the possibility of a move to Milan last year, but he chose to stay in MLS, where he was enjoying his football again following a serious knee injury at Manchester United.

"I spoke to Leonardo, it is true, but I did not feel ready to return," he said. "I was fine in Los Angeles and played continuously.

"When I went to America, I wanted to feel alive after the injury.

"I feel ready to play in Italy and help Milan. When I was in Paris, we didn't talk about a return. There was no contact."

Discussing the nature of his return this month, Ibrahimovic claimed he received more offers than when he previously joined Milan from Barcelona in 2010.

"After the last game with the Galaxy, I received a call from Paolo Maldini and we discussed ideas and plans for the future," he said. "At 38, I had more requests than when I was 28.

"However, it was not a difficult decision: when I left Milan, I didn't want to leave, I adapted. Now I am here again and will do everything to improve things.

"Milan is like my home. When I came here from Barcelona, I found the happiness of playing football here. I hope to return something.

"I am here with the greatest desire. I respect this club so much."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is confident he is ready to make his second debut for Milan, having completed a free transfer from LA Galaxy.

The 38-year-old has returned to San Siro, where he represented the Rossoneri from 2010 until 2012 before departing for Paris Saint-Germain.

Ibrahimovic was presented as Milan player on Friday, with their next match - the first after the mid-season break - against Sampdoria on Monday.

The striker last featured for Galaxy in their MLS playoff defeat to rivals Los Angeles FC on October 25, but he is not concerned by a lack of match action.

"I'm fine, I've trained a lot," he told a news conference. "I haven't touched the ball, but it's not a problem. I think I'm ready to play."

Ibrahimovic suffered knee ligament damage at Manchester United before returning to form and fitness in MLS, scoring 52 goals in 56 regular-season games.

The former Sweden international acknowledges he may not reach the same levels as in his previous stint with Milan, but he is delighted to be back.

"I am much worse," Ibrahimovic said with a smile.

"Before the injury, I had many thoughts about the future. After the injury and the return to the field, I am just very happy to be able to play football again.

"I worked hard, and as long as I can play, I will do it. Then, of course, you play at different levels. I believe that with great spirit and the right mentality, we can still do well.

"When you play, you don't have to overdo it. Maybe instead of running, you can shoot from 40 yards."

Milan were humbled 5-0 at Atalanta in their final match of 2019, ending the year 11th in Serie A, and chief football officer Zvonimir Boban insists this signing will not paper over obvious cracks.

"I would not like to forget the horrendous and unacceptable defeat in Bergamo," Boban said. "Nobody on the team has to hide behind Zlatan's very broad shoulders.

"We are proud to have him with us and we are sure he will give the team a great hand."

Manchester United have identified James Maddison or Jack Grealish as their top January transfer targets.

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay injured, United have concerns in midfield to begin 2020.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said United were looking at "one or two" January additions, and it appears their targets are also Premier League players.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD IDENTIFY MADDISON, GREALISH AS JANUARY TARGETS

Manchester United are prioritising a move for Leicester City's Maddison or Aston Villa's Grealish, according to the Independent.

United are looking to find greater consistency in the second half of the Premier League season, although they sit fifth in the table.

Grealish has provided five assists in the Premier League this campaign, while netting six times. Maddison also has six goals.

ROUND-UP

- Thomas Lemar is attracting interest from Tottenham. AS reports that if the midfielder joins Spurs from Atletico Madrid, the LaLiga club would be able to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

- Tottenham may have more pressing concerns in January. Harry Kane could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury as Spurs await the results of a second scan, according to The Telegraph.

- Benfica are prepared to let 20-year-old midfielder Gedson Fernandes leave. A Bola reports the club are ready to negotiate for the Portugal international, who has been linked to Manchester United, Lyon and Milan.

- Arsenal are aiming to strengthen their defence with the signing of Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng, according to Sky Sports. Calum Chambers is set for a long spell on the sidelines after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, and Boateng could be set for a return to the Premier League.

- Jean-Clair Todibo is expected to leave Barcelona in January and a surprise potential destination has emerged. Bild reports Schalke are thinking about a loan move for the 20-year-old defender.

- Borussia Dortmund have set their price for forward Paco Alcacer. The Bundesliga club want €40million for the Spaniard, who has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is delighted to be "home" after arriving to undergo a medical ahead of his return to Milan.

Ibrahimovic will sign a six-month contract, with an option for another year, with the Rossoneri after touching down at Linate Airport in Milan on Thursday.

The 38-year-old striker was available on a free transfer after deciding to end a two-year stint with MLS side LA Galaxy.

Ibrahimovic represented Milan from 2010 until 2012, winning the Scudetto and Supercoppa Italiana, and expressed his pleasure at securing a second stint.

"I remember arriving in this same spot many years ago. What matters now is that I'm back and I'm happy," Ibrahimovic told Milan TV.

"I've always said this is my home and I'm finally back. I've played for other teams in my years, but finally I'm back and that's all that matters.

Asked if he had a message for the fans, who gathered in their hundreds at the airport to catch a glimpse of the star striker, Ibrahimovic added: "I'm back, finally.

"I'm eager to see the fans at San Siro, to make the stadium jump with joy again."

Milan sit 11th in Serie A after a 5-0 thrashing at Atalanta, their worst league loss for 21 years, prior to the mid-season break. They return to action at home to Sampdoria on Monday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic landed at Linate Airport ahead of undertaking his Milan medical on Thursday.

Milan chief football officer Zvonimir Boban and a number of fans were in attendance to greet Ibrahimovic ahead of his return to San Siro.

The 38-year-old striker agreed a six-month deal, with the option for another year, with the Rossoneri last Friday.

Upon completing his medical, Ibrahimovic is expected to sign his contract and head to Milanello to meet coach Stefano Pioli and his new team-mates.

Ibrahimovic, who previously played for Milan from 2010 until 2012 and won the Scudetto and Supercoppa Italiana, became a free agent after deciding to leave LA Galaxy at the end of their MLS campaign in October.

Milan sit 11th in Serie A and return from the mid-season break with a match against Sampdoria on Monday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival at Milan boosts the quality and personality in the squad, according to Fabio Capello.

Milan brought Ibrahimovic back for a second stint – the Swede having won Serie A and the Supercoppa Italiana with the Rossoneri in 2011 – on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract with MLS side LA Galaxy.

Stefano Pioli's side went into the mid-season break in 11th following a 5-0 loss to Atalanta that represented the club's worst league defeat in 21 years.

The wisdom of offering the 38-year-old a six-month deal with the option for another year was questioned by some, but Capello, who led Milan to four Scudetti and Champions League success during a defining five-year spell at San Siro in the 1990s, has no doubt the move is a positive one.

"Zlatan's return to Milan is positive in two respects: for what he can still offer as a player and for the contribution of personality," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The stories of the poor US championship are bleak. It is not at the level of the best European leagues.

"Ibrahimovic will need a few games to settle, but then he will become decisive. Milan have little personality. Zlatan will shake the team.

"However, the transfer window cannot end here. We need a reinforcement in defence."

Milan have reportedly agreed to sign Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo on loan with an option to buy but Capello suggested his age means he may not be the right solution.

"I don't know him very well, but he's 20 years old, he's from the French school and has already made his debut in the Champions League with Barcelona. It's a good CV, even if the last word is always what is shown on the pitch," said Capello.

"It is not always easy to adapt to our league; I expected something more from [Aaron] Ramsey and [Adrien] Rabiot, for example."

Some of Europe's top clubs are already making signings ahead of the January transfer window, but Real Madrid's focus, at least for now, looks to be on securing the services of a current player.

Karim Benzema remains one of Madrid's key men, with 12 goals in 17 LaLiga matches this term.

Los Blancos will reportedly reward the striker's fine form with a contract renewal in the coming months, keeping him at the Santiago Bernabeu for another two seasons.

 

TOP STORY – BENZEMA TO STAY UNTIL 2022

Karim Benzema has agreed to sign a new contract with LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Marca.

Benzema's current deal had been set to expire in 2021, but an extension is imminent. The newspaper reports the Frenchman will be rewarded improved terms on a new contract to run until 2022 due to his outstanding form.

With Madrid enjoying a midseason break, they are said to have agreed a deal with Benzema that will be made formal at the end of the campaign.

Benzema's future is apparently a priority for Madrid, with the report suggesting the deal was only capped at an additional year as the player is determined not to outstay his welcome, leaving before his outstanding career wanes.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United reportedly have an interest in Benfica star Gedson Fernandes. Sky Sports say the 20-year-old midfielder, who has fallen out of favour with his club, could be available for £34million (€39.8m) following a loan, rather than for a loftier release clause of £102m. United are desperate to bolster their midfield, with Nemanja Matic tipped to join Inter, Milan or Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Suns says United are eyeing £50m-rated Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin after Erling Haaland signed for Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.

- The Mirror claims Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will leave Emirates Stadium at the end of the season in pursuit of silverware. Aubameyang has 18 months remaining on his contract.

Chelsea have made enquiries about the release clause in RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner's contract, says The Telegraph. Werner has been linked to Liverpool, United and Bayern Munich.

- El Desmarque says Everton are leading the race to sign James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti worked with James during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Serie A champions Juventus lead the race to sign Dejan Kulusevski, according to Sky Sport Italia and La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 19-year-old, on loan at Parma from Atalanta, has been linked to United, Arsenal, Napoli, Inter and Liverpool. But Juve are reportedly poised to pay Atalanta €40-50m, while allowing Kulusevski to remain on loan at Parma until the end of the season.

- Calciomercato.com reports Jean-Clair Todibo has an offer from Milan. A deal is said to be done for the Barcelona defender - an initial loan, followed by a €20m fee with no buyback option - but he has not yet agreed to the transfer.

- Having already signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan must move on others in the next month. However, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Rossoneri are only interested in selling Ricardo Rodriguez and Suso, rather than accommodating loan deals that would suit Watford and Sevilla, respectively.

Napoli are set to announce the signing of Stanislav Lobotka for an initial €16m, according to Calciomercato.com. The midfielder will leave Celta Vigo and sign a contract with the Partenopei until 2024.

Erling Haaland's decision to join Borussia Dortmund brought an end to one of Europe's most fascinating transfer stories.

Manchester United had been in the frame for his signature but were reportedly put off by a key demand from the striker's representatives.

As often seems to be the case for the Red Devils, Mino Raiola's involvement led to complications.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PULLED PLUG ON HAALAND BID

According to The Guardian, United abandoned their bid for the highly sought-after Haaland after learning of a request from his agent, Raiola, and father Alf-Inge Haaland.

The pair reportedly asked for a share of any future transfer fee for the 19-year-old, a stipulation the Old Trafford outfit were unwilling to meet despite their firm interest.

Haaland settled on Dortmund after the Bundesliga side activated his Salzburg buyout clause.

He had been linked to RB Leipzig, Juventus and several more top European clubs after emerging as a Champions League star.

 

ROUND-UP

- Haaland's arrival at Dortmund could lead LaLiga side  Atletico Madrid to narrow the transfer focus on Spanish striker Paco Alcacer, according to Marca. The former Barcelona player has struggled to cement a place in BVB's starting XI and represents a cheaper option in terms of wages than Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, an apparent favourite of Diego Simeone.

- AS, meanwhile, reports on potential movements elsewhere in the Spanish capital. The newspaper claims Real Madrid are preparing to recall Jesus Vallejo from his loan spell at Wolves, with a view to finding him more playing time. That could lead to a short-term switch to Leganes or Eintracht Frankfurt.

- Juventus are close to extending Wojciech Szczesny's contract yet the Serie A champions remain admirers of Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to CalcioMercato.

- Tammy Abraham wants a better deal at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea are not yet prepared to accept his demand for parity with Callum Hudson-Odoi's £180,000 per week salary, reports The Athletic.

- Manchester City are set to beat Premier League rivals United, Arsenal and Liverpool to the January signing of Barcelona's teenage left-back Juan Larios, says the Daily Star.

Ibrahimovic rejoins Milan

December 27, 2019

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to Milan for a second spell at the club.

The 38-year-old had been a free agent since leaving LA Galaxy at the end of the Major League Soccer season last month.

He spent 18 months with the Galaxy and was named in the MLS Best XI in 2018 and 2019 after scoring a combined 53 goals.

Several clubs had been linked with the former Sweden international, including the likes of Fiorentina, Napoli and Bologna, but he has decided on a return to San Siro.

The former Sweden international has signed a deal until the end of the season, with the option to extend it into the 2020-21 campaign.

"I'm coming back to a club I hugely respect and to the city of Milan I love," Ibrahimovic told Milan's website.

"I'll fight together with my team-mates to change the course of this season. I will do everything to make it happen."

Ibrahimovic won the Serie A title during his previous two-season stint with Milan, which ended in July 2012 when he joined French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

He has enjoyed subsequent spells with Manchester United and the Galaxy and now joins a Milan side enduring a dismal season.

Milan are 11th in Serie A, 14 points adrift of the top four, and were thrashed 5-0 by Atalanta in their last outing, Stefano Pioli having a limited impact since replacing Marco Giampaolo in October.

How much will it take to retain the services of Kylian Mbappe?

Paris Saint-Germain are desperate to ward off Real Madrid, who want to bring Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu.

A huge contract offer is reportedly on the horizon in Paris.

 

TOP STORY – PSG READYING BUMPER NEW DEAL FOR MBAPPE

Paris Saint-Germain have offered superstar Kylian Mbappe a five-year contract worth €32million per year amid interest from Real Madrid, according to journalist Nicolo Schira.

LaLiga giants Madrid are reportedly ready to go all out for Mbappe at the end of the season – head coach Zinedine Zidane desperate to work with his fellow Frenchman.

Amid doubts over Neymar's future in Paris as LaLiga champions Barcelona continue to be linked with a reunion, PSG are desperate to hold onto Mbappe.

ROUND-UP

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has agreed to return to Milan, according to Sky Sport Italia and reports in Italy. A free agent since leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy, the 38-year-old has reportedly signed a six-month contract with the option of another year. Ibrahimovic spent two seasons previously playing for Milan from 2010 to 2012, winning the Scudetto.

- According to Calciomercato, Antonio Conte's Inter continue to dream of signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, who wants to leave Camp Nou as soon as January.

- While Vidal could leave, Sport reports Barca are interested in signing Stefano Sensi. The Italian midfielder is on a season-long loan deal at Inter from Sassuolo.

- La Repubblica claims Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is valued at €105m amid links to Serie A champions Juventus and Inter.

- PSG forward Edinson Cavani will not force through a move to Atletico Madrid, says Mundo Deportivo. Cavani – out of contract at the end of the season – has reportedly agreed a deal to join Atletico, however, the veteran is unwilling to leave PSG on bad terms.

- The Evening Standard says Everton's Richarlison has been considered by United as they look to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku. Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland tops the list of United's attacking targets, however, he is also wanted by RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Juve.

With Atletico Madrid struggling for regular goals, Diego Simeone is keen to address the problem.

Atletico have only scored 20 goals in 18 LaLiga matches this season – the club relying heavily on Alvaro Morata's seven strikes.

Simeone's solution could be about to arrive from the French capital, where a Paris Saint-Germain star has fallen down the pecking order.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID NEARING CAVANI DEAL

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani is close to joining Atletico Madrid in January, according to Marca.

Cavani has reportedly agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Atletico, while PSG would prefer to keep the 32-year-old until the end of the season.

The soon-to-be free agent has found himself behind loanee Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar this season.

Signing Cavani in the January transfer window could force Atletico to sell due to their salary-limit issue, with Thomas Lemar a possible casualty.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United pair Nemanja Matic and Marcos Rojo have been told they will be sold in January, according to the Daily Star. Matic has been linked with Serie A duo Milan and Inter, while Atletico have emerged as an option for the veteran midfielder.

- According to AS, Valencia want to sign right-back Joao Cancelo from Premier League champions Manchester City. The LaLiga outfit are keen for a January reunion with Cancelo, who initially joined Valencia in 2014 before leaving permanently in 2018. Valencia want to re-sign the Portugal international on an initial loan.

Hertha Berlin have entered negotiations with Granit Xhaka to bring the former Arsenal captain back to the Bundesliga, reports RMC Sport. Hertha have turned their attention to ex-Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Xhaka after failing to prise Lucas Tousart from Lyon.

Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign Isco. The Daily Express says Real Madrid are trying to offload players to free up funds to bring in Tottenham star Christian Eriksen in January. City are also reportedly interested in Madrid's Isco.

Mario Mandzukic's proposed switch to Qatari outfit Al-Duhail from Juventus has broken down due to wage expectations, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona only want to loan out defender Jean-Clair Todibo in January amid interest from Milan and Bayern Leverkusen. United have also been linked with the 19-year-old.

Mikel Arteta officially started work at Arsenal on Sunday and appears set to get busy in the transfer market.

The Gunners reportedly have two targets in their sights, including a Serie A star.

Arsenal could do with an injection of excitement after slipping to 11th in the Premier League following their lacklustre goalless draw at Everton.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS EYE MERTENS AND VOLLAND

Among the players Arsenal admire is Napoli mainstay Dries Mertens, according to CalcioMercato.

Mertens, on target five times in the Champions League this term, will be available on a free at the end of the season.

Borussia Dortmund are also said to be interested in the 32-year-old, potentially forcing Arsenal to look elsewhere for reinforcements.

That could result in them launching a bid for Kevin Volland. Sky Sports News says the Gunners have sent scouts to watch the Bayer Leverkusen forward and will put his name to new boss Arteta for consideration.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paolo Maldini's position as Milan technical director is "in the balance" following the embarrassing 5-0 loss to Atalanta, claims CalcioMercato. The Rossoneri are languishing in 11th.

- Manchester United and multiple Bundesliga clubs are tracking teenage Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham, reports The Telegraph.

- German newspaper Bild believes goalkeeper Alexander Nubel will join Bayern Munich at the end of the season after announcing his decision to leave Schalke on a free. According to Sport1, his arrival at Allianz Arena could lead to Sven Ulreich's exit.

- Ligue 1 side Monaco have identified Marcelo Gallardo, Laurent Blanc and Marcelino as potential replacements for the under-pressure Leonardo Jardim, according to L'Equipe.

- Juventus outcast Mario Mandzukic is set to seal a switch from the Serie A champions to Qatari side Al-Duhail, reports Sky Sport Italia.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic would add "determination and character" to a beleaguered Milan side who suffered their worst Serie A defeat in over 21 years against Atalanta, says Stefano Pioli.

The Rossoneri were embarrassed in Bergamo on Sunday with Josip Ilicic's double and goals from Alejandro Gomez, Mario Pasalic and Luis Muriel consigning them to a 5-0 defeat – not since May 1998 against Roma had they lost by five goals.

Ex-Milan striker Ibrahimovic has long been linked with a return and, although Pioli insists a deal for the veteran striker remains in the hands of the club's hierarchy, the head coach acknowledged the qualities he would add to his squad.

"These are questions for the club owners," he told DAZN when asked about Ibrahimovic, who is a free agent. 

"People have talked about Ibrahimovic for over a month now. I've already said he is a champion and would bring that determination and character to raise the intensity and focus even during training, more so than in games."

Milan's woes were mainly in the final half an hour, where they conceded four goals, and Pioli admitted every part of their gameplan was wrong.

"We got the game wrong against the worst possible team we could've done that with," he added.

"Clearly, this cannot be the real Milan, because we showed strong performances in other matches recently. 

"We have to take some of the blame too, because we made mistakes and have to work. This cannot be us.

"Today's performance makes it look as if it was our first game together, but that is not the case. We need to get back to what we were doing before and remember the matches we had before this."

Milan could head into the mid-season break in the bottom half of Serie A and Pioli is set to plan his strategy for the January transfer window.

"We struggled to mount any kind of reaction or high press, weren't sharp tactically and the club knows the evaluations I've been making with this team over three months," Pioli said.

"I know the strengths and weaknesses, so we are working out a strategy for the January transfer window."

Milan's 5-0 hammering at the hands of Atalanta was their worst defeat in Serie A for 21 years.

Josip Ilicic scored twice, while Alejandro Gomez, Mario Pasalic and Luis Muriel were also on target for the rampant hosts in Bergamo.

It was a day Stefano Pioli and his dejected Rossoneri will want to forget and it marked just the fourth time in the club's history they have been beaten by a five-goal margin.

The last such instance was in May 1998 when Roma hammered Milan in the capital with goals from Vincent Candela, Luigi Di Biagio (2), Paulo Sergio and Marco Delvecchio.

Josip Ilicic scored twice as Atalanta outclassed a sorry Milan with a 5-0 rout in Bergamo on Sunday.

The hosts were rewarded for a dominant opening with a wonderful solo goal from Alejandro Gomez and ex-Rossoneri midfielder Mario Pasalic doubled the lead shortly after the hour.

Ilicic drilled home in the 63rd minute and soon had a second with an exquisite effort as Atalanta - who completed the thrashing through substitute Luis Muriel - were rewarded for a display full of enterprise and invention with a result that sees them head into Serie A's mid-season break in fifth.

Milan, who were unbeaten in four prior to the game, and coach Stefano Pioli will need to do some soul searching over the next fortnight, though, after a woeful away performance.

Ilicic had already tested Gianluigi Donnarumma by the time Gomez opened the scoring with a sublime piece of skill after 10 minutes.

The forward nutmegged Andrea Conti on the left wing and drove inside before hammering high into the far corner.

Pasalic also rattled the crossbar and a ramshackle Milan, whose best first-half effort was a long-ranger from Ricardo Rodriguez, were fortunate Mateo Musacchio's elbow on Gomez only drew a yellow card.

Ruslan Malinovskiy placed a 20-yard effort just past the right post but a quickfire double had Atalanta in control.

Pasalic touched in Robin Gosens' strike from the left of the area, with Conti again beaten easily, before Ilicic turned Davide Calabria and rifled past a helpless Donnarumma less than two minutes later.

The best was still to come, though, with Ilicic jinking and weaving before cutting onto his left from 20 yards and bending a fine strike into the top-left corner.

Muriel, who replaced the brilliant Ilicic, made it five in the 83rd minute after racing onto a long ball and rounding the onrushing Donnarumma to tap into the open goal.


What does it mean? Woe in Bergamo for Milan

There were signs Milan were on the road to recovery after taking eight points from the previous four Serie A matches, but this was as hapless a showing the Rossoneri have produced during an underwhelming season. Isolated in attack, light in midfield and disorganised at the back, Pioli has much to ponder.

Ilicic the guide for fluent Atalanta

By contrast there was much to admire about Atalanta, whose front three caused Milan all manner of trouble. At the heart of it was Ilicic, who had forced Donnarumma into action twice before his goals. Gomez also impressed and had Conti on toast for his wonderful opener, while Pasalic – who did not celebrate against his former club – was always a creative outlet.

Conti emblematic of Milan's misery

Not many in a Milan shirt came out with much credit here, but Conti had a particularly torrid time and was culpable for Atalanta's opening two goals.

What's next?

Atalanta resume after the mid-season break with a home fixture against Parma on January 6, the same day Milan welcome Sampdoria.

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