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Edwin van der Sar Discusses Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Milan Move, Matthijs de Ligt

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2019

Los Angeles Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) celebrates after scoring against Los Angeles FC during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Ajax director Edwin van der Sar has backed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to find success at AC Milan and believes Matthijs de Ligt will come good at Juventus.

The former Bianconeri and Manchester United goalkeeper spoke to Sky Sport Italia (h/t Football Italia) about several topics, including Ibrahimovic's return to Milan: "For Zlatan, it’s a unique opportunity to play and score many goals in the last few seasons of his career. He can take Milan and bring them back towards the top of the table."

On De Ligt, he said early struggles at Juventus were inevitable, but he backed the youngster to find success: "He has some initial difficulties—they are normal, especially in a team like Juve and in a difficult championship like Serie A. But he’s good, strong; I’m absolutely not worried about his future."

Ibrahimovic announced his return to Serie A on Friday:

Zlatan Ibrahimović @Ibra_official

Same Zlatan. Different Devil. @acmilan Arrivo https://t.co/2sU0su3Jtt

The 38-year-old played for the Rossoneri between 2010 and 2012, winning one Serie A title. He also won the Italian top division with Juventus and Inter Milan, although the Bianconeri trophies were later revoked as part of the Calciopoli scandal.

Since leaving Milan, he has played for Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and L.A. Galaxy. The veteran hasn't stopped scoring:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to take his scoring pedigree back to Italy ⚽️ https://t.co/Onsaj79kPj

The Milan he's returning to looks nothing like the team he left. The former title contenders haven't finished in the top four in six straight seasons, and they sit closer to the relegation zone than the UEFA Champions League spots midway through the current campaign.

The gap to Serie A leaders Juventus and Inter is 21 points after 17 matches.

De Ligt is in his first season with the Bianconeri, but his debut campaign in Italy has not gone according to plan.

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

He struggled during the first few months before finding his feet, impressing in the 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid. But just as the 20-year-old appeared to have turned the corner, Merih Demiral got his chance in the 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen and put in a phenomenal performance.

The Turk has started every match since, pairing mostly with Leonardo Bonucci. His breakout has led to plenty of debate over which of the top talents should be the starter moving forward:

BWRAO @JuventusNation

Amount of times people are going to debate de Ligt vs. Demiral over the next two weeks of the holiday break. https://t.co/lKTFOrlXUc

Juventus bought both players in the summer, likely planning to form another dominant defensive pairing once Giorgio Chiellini and Bonucci start to regress. They're 35 and 32 years old, respectively, and the former has missed the bulk of the season due to injury.

De Ligt may not have had a dream start in Turin, but there's plenty of time to turn things around.