Zlatan Ibrahimovic will bring a winning mentality back to Milan, according to Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri.

Ibrahimovic has returned to Milan for a second spell with the Serie A club after leaving Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 38-year-old spent 18 months with the Galaxy, scoring 53 Major League Soccer goals, and was linked to numerous clubs before settling on a return to San Siro, with Milan languishing in 11th place.

Having signed a deal until the end of the season, with an option for 2020-21, Ibrahimovic is likely to make his second Milan debut when the Rossoneri take on struggling Sampdoria on Monday, and Ranieri has no doubt the veteran forward will be a fantastic addition.

"I hope to start 2020 with a great performance and some points, although facing Ibrahimovic is never a good start to a year!" Ranieri said during a news conference on Saturday.

"Milan have a lot of quality players, so their current position in the table is inexplicable. They'll feel enthusiastic and Ibrahimovic brings a winning mentality.

"I am absolutely certain Ibra will play, probably from the start. San Siro will be fired up, so we require cool heads."

Bologna were one of the other Serie A sides interested in Ibrahimovic and their coach Sinisa Mihajlovic believes his club would have been a better fit for the former Sweden international.

"It is disappointing, because I think he’d have had more fun here," Bologna coach Mihajlovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek.

"It would've been good for him, for the city and the club, with the team playing to help set him up for goals. I have no complaints, because he had said that if he'd chosen Bologna, it would've been for me. I realise there are other factors at stake, including family commitments.

"Ibra did call me before making his decision, so he kept his word and remains a dear friend. It just means I'll have to beat him on the pitch now."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his first day back at Milan with a goal in a 9-0 friendly thrashing of Rhodense.

The 38-year-old striker was presented to fans and the media on Friday after rejoining the club on a free transfer following his departure from LA Galaxy.

The striker trained with his team-mates for the first time at Milanello before playing in an exhibition game against Rhodense, a team in Italy's fifth tier.

Ibrahimovic scored his side's third goal of the game, tapping in from close range to make it 3-0 after Davide Calabria's early double.

Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Paqueta, Rafael Leao, Samu Castillejo and a Krzysztof Piatek double completed the scoring.

Ibrahimovic, a Serie A champion with Milan in 2010-11 in his first spell with the club, could make his first competitive appearance for the Rossoneri since his return in Monday's home encounter with Sampdoria.

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."

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."

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.

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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.

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- 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.

Carlo Ancelotti is open to trying to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Everton, although insists he has not spoken to the Swedish star about such a possibility.

Ibrahimovic is a free agent after leaving MLS side LA Galaxy earlier this year and the 38-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to Serie A, with Milan and Ancelotti's former club Napoli reportedly interested.

However, with Ancelotti – who coached Ibrahimovic at Paris Saint-Germain – having joined Everton, the striker has been mooted as a potential transfer target for the Toffees.

Ancelotti says the door would be open should Ibrahimovic wish to visit Goodison Park.

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a good friend of mine, he was my player," Ancelotti told reporters in a news conference on Monday.

"Fortunately I have trained a lot of good players, fantastic players. Ibrahimovic has finished his time in the United States but really I don't know what is his idea.

"I really don't know. I'd have to call him. If he wants to come here, wants to come, enjoy it, then he can come."

He quickly added "but not to play!" in an apparent attempt to cool expectations of a move.

"I don't know. But I'm not a manager that is used to working alone," Ancelotti said when asked if his status as one of the world's most successful managers would help attract a higher calibre of player to Everton.

"I want to speak to the club, we have to speak, have to work together to find the right solution.

"I don't know whether it is helpful if some players want to come here because I am here. It has happened in the past sometimes. I think there are a lot of fantastic players, but it's important to choose the ones important to our squad."

Everton pulled off a coup in the close season when they signed Moise Kean from Juventus, though the youngster has so far struggled, failing to score in 16 appearances across all competitions.

The 19-year-old was also substituted off by interim boss Duncan Ferguson just 19 minutes after coming on during a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on December 15.

Ancelotti, however, is eager to help develop Kean, but warned it may take more time for the Italy international to adapt.

"Moise Kean did really well last year. We were involved when I was at Napoli in trying to sign him," Ancelotti said.

"I think he's a really good player with a lot of talent. He showed fantastic talent last year at Juventus even if he didn't play a lot.

"We have to consider he's 19, every player that changes country or teams needs a time of adaptation. We have to wait and work on him to improve his quality, be a better professional, but he has a top quality."

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."

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ROUND-UP

- The Sun claims Mauricio Pochettino is holding off on making any commitment to Real Madrid as he waits to see how Guardiola's situation at Manchester City plays out.

- According to The Telegraph, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is open to linking up with former boss Carlo Ancelotti at Everton. Ancelotti is reportedly set to be appointed by the Toffees and Ibrahimovic – who has been linked to Milan and Napoli – could follow him to Merseyside.

Mesut Ozil is close to securing a loan move from Arsenal to Fenerbahce in January, according to Turkish newspaper Fotomac.

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Tottenham are considering a January move for Leicester City full-back Ricardo Pereira, says Het Nieuwsblad.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a "unique" talent but Milan's improving form means they may not make a move for a new forward, says the club's chief football officer Zvonimir Boban.

The future of veteran free agent Ibrahimovic has been the topic of much discussion in recent weeks, with Milan and Serie A rivals Napoli and Bologna all tipped with a move for his signature.

Ibrahimovic is a former Rossoneri favourite and won a Serie A and a Supercoppa Italiana during two seasons with the club between 2010 and 2012.

Boban says even at the age of 38 Ibrahimovic, who decided not to renew his stay with LA Galaxy in MLS, can have an impact on the team but says Milan – who are unbeaten in their past four matches under Stefano Pioli – must take time to weigh up their options.

"We will see if we have to make transfer moves for a forward," he told Rai Radio 1.

"However, Ibrahimovic is unique, he can give so much in the short term. He is different from the others even though he is no longer 28 years old. He is a player with plenty of personality and has what it takes to make the atmosphere around a team pivot.

"When we started negotiating, however, we were in a different position in the table."

Milan are 10th in Serie A, 11 points off the top four and 18 adrift of table-toppers Inter and Juventus.

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Bayer Leverkusen are poised to sign River Plate's Exequiel Palacios, says Kicker. Palacios – previously tipped to join Madrid – is set to move to Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen in January in a €22m deal.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has walked away from negotiations with Milan, reports Calciomercato. A free agent after leaving LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic has been linked with a return to Milan, as well as Napoli. But the 38-year-old is reportedly not moving back to San Siro after failing to reach an agreement.

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Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis appeared to rule out the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, insisting the club must "start from scratch" after Gennaro Gattuso replaced Carlo Ancelotti.

Ibrahimovic is a free agent after leaving MLS side LA Galaxy and the veteran striker has been linked with a return to Serie A via Napoli, former club Milan and Serie C outfit Monza.

Touted to re-join Milan, the arrival of ex-Rossoneri boss Gattuso in Naples has led to speculation Ibrahimovic could move to Napoli instead.

It comes after Napoli reportedly offered Ibrahimovic an 18-month contract before head coach Ancelotti was sacked following the club's Champions League victory on Tuesday.

Asked about Ibrahimovic, De Laurentiis told reporters: "Zlatan is a great person with a strong character. We thought about Ibrahimovic when Ancelotti was in charge, as he would've taken a certain role.

"Now before thinking about him, I have other priorities, as this is a team that must play in a different system with a very high line and a defence that cannot allow what it allowed against Parma.

"We must focus first and foremost on what we have in-house and then to reinforce the midfield. It's a pity all the work we had done for Ancelotti now has to be scrapped and we start again working for Gattuso's ideas. We start from scratch, but do not lack enthusiasm."

Gattuso's first match in charge did not go according to plan – Napoli stunned 2-1 by visiting Parma after conceding a 93rd-minute goal on Saturday.

The result left Napoli languishing in eighth in Serie A, 11 points outside the top four amid an eight-match winless streak in the league.

"I am totally in sync with Gattuso, who is a great worker," De Laurentiis said. "He did well at Milan and is the right profile for us, as was Carlo, who remains an extraordinary person.

"Now we need a great deal of patience, nerves of steel and cool heads. I tell that above all to the fans. They want to win at all costs, but football has changed and it has become far more complex."

On Ancelotti, De Laurentiis added: "I can only wish Ancelotti all the best. He is an extraordinary person and a great friend. Once we reach the end of the season, I'll look at everything and understand what went wrong or who was wrong. We will draw a definitive line."

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