Fabio Capello is confused by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to Milan and feels the former striker could put even more pressure on Stefano Pioli: ‘If he goes to Newcastle, maybe there is no longer big trust in the coach alone.’
RedBird Capital Partners confirmed Ibrahimovic’s return to Milan on Monday, revealing his duties as an ‘Operating Partner’ and ‘Senior Advisor to Ownership and Senior Management.’
Capello, an ex-Milan coach and a former manager of Ibrahimovic at Juventus, doesn’t seem entirely convinced about the former striker’s return to San Siro and shared his thoughts on the matter during an interview with Sky Sport Italia on Monday.
“Can he go to Milanello? Can he talk to the players? What can he do? Ibra is a smart man, and he can have a key role in certain situations, but when he returned to Milan as a player, he was in the dressing room, and he could have an impact from there,” said the 77-year-old.
“With this statement, we don’t understand if he can enter the dressing room, if he can help Pioli or if this move of integrating Ibra in Milan can be negative for Pioli who could lose his leadership. I think this is the most important point.
“The other side of the coin is that Ibra could boost the players’ motivation, making them understand that they are all under exam, so they have more strength to pursue important results, starting from the Newcastle game.”
RedBird have said that Ibrahimovic will cover different roles, including the development of players at Milanello. Sky Sport’s correspondent Peppe Di Stefano, added that the Rossoneri probably needed an experienced figure working close to the team after the sudden departure of Paolo Maldini last summer.
“This is the problem; this means they lacked somebody to replace Maldini and Ricky Massara. I mean, is this why the club have brought Ibrahimovic back? This is my question,” asked Capello.
“I repeat, Ibra can cover this role because he is a smart guy who wants to prove his abilities off the pitch, so he could be a wonderful solution for Milan, but he also needs experience, and this is the difference right now. He will need to get in slowly and be supported by the club.”
Capello insisted that the 42-year-old could put even more pressure on Pioli following his return.
“Will Ibra go with the team to Newcastle straight away? If he does, it means there is no longer big trust in Pioli alone,” the former coach noted.
“We have to see what Ibrahimovic will do these days. If this is a role only for the future, if it’s about January signings, or if his role will be different. We will understand this in four days between the next two games.”
According to Sky Sport Italia, it is still unclear whether Ibrahimovic will travel with the team to St. James’ Park on Tuesday.
Milan have a must-win Champions League game against Newcastle on Wednesday. They must beat the Premier League side away and hope Borussia Dortmund beat PSG at home to qualify for the Round of 16.