Zlatan Ibrahimovic Says AC Milan Interest 'No Secret,' Praises Gennaro Gattuso

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2018

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy  during the Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS match against Vancouver Whitecaps at the StubHub Center on September 29, 2018 in Carson, California.  The Los Angeles Galaxy won the match 3-0 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)
Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said it is "no secret" that AC Milan want to sign him for a second time and has spoken of his admiration for the team's manager, Gennaro Gattuso.

Speculation linking the Serie A side with a swoop for the striker has intensified as of late, with the club said to be keen on a reunion with the Swede who spent two years at the San Siro between 2010 and 2012. 

Speaking to Vanity Fair (h/t Chris Burton of Goal), the 37-year-old confirmed there's veracity to the rumours, but he's in no rush to leave the Galaxy.

"There's interest, but I'd be fine spending another year in Los Angeles. It's no secret that Milan like me. I had two wonderful years there and didn't want to leave, but they ‘forced' me to go to Paris.

"We won things, I ran out top scorer at a great club with a great atmosphere, plus the old guard was still there. They were an incredible group of players, with whom I was lucky to play and win. And I know what it means to win in Italy. Winning is everything."

Andy Wong/Associated Press

When discussing a possible move back to the Rossoneri, Ibrahimovic said, "We'll see."

Ibrahimovic went on to speak of how impressed he's been with Gattuso since he took over the manager's position at Milan. 

"When I watch Milan's games, I see how all his players love him," said the mercurial forward. "When you win with people like him, and we've won the Scudetto and Supercoppa together, it's wonderful. Good times."

Ibrahimovic only moved to Los Angeles earlier this year and unsurprisingly, he had an immediate impact on the division:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's regular MLS season by numbers: 27 games 895 passes completed 170 aerial duels won 116 shots 37 chances created 28 take-ons completed 22 goals 6 assists Unlucky not to have made the Play-Offs. https://t.co/nttZjs00O2

While the standard of football in Major League Soccer doesn't compare to European football's top five leagues, the fact Ibrahimovic was so successful in 2018 offered a reminder of what a force he can be when he's at his best.

If he was to move to Milan, then it'd not only be a romantic transfer but also one that would potentially give the team an edge in matches in Italian football's top flight. While Juventus appear set to run away with the title, the likes of Napoli, Inter Milan, Lazio, Roma and Milan are all jostling for a spot in the top four.

Aaron West of Copa90 thinks a move to Serie A would leave some sceptical, despite Ibrahimovic's success in MLS since he arrived:

A West @ayyy_west

Zlatan is (probably) heading back to Milan so cue up all the “SERIE A IS A RETIREMENT LEAGUE” takes from people who don’t even know what city Napoli is in.

Nevertheless, a player with the experience, instincts and mentality of the Swede would be a major boost for Milan. While he wouldn't be a guaranteed starter ahead of the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Patrick Cutrone, Ibrahimovic's arrival would give the team firepower to rival most of the division.

The veteran doesn't appear to be in a huge hurry to move anywhere for the time being, although a footballer of his mindset will surely be tempted to test himself at the top level another time.