Gennaro Gattuso claims Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ‘STRONGER’ than he was 10 years ago after former team-mate hit a brace for AC Milan against his Napoli side as the veteran striker continues to impress
Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso believes his former team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ‘even stronger’ than he was a decade ago after the veteran AC Milan striker netted a brace against his side on Sunday.
The towering Swede sent his side top of Serie A once again as he inspired a 3-1 win, with Milan continuing their impressive campaign so far – Ibrahimovic netting 10 goals from just six league games despite approaching his forties.
The former Manchester United star shocked fans by re-joining Milan last December, with many questioning whether the 39-year-old still had the quality to continue performing at the top level after a stint in the MLS.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as Serie A leaders AC Milan beat 10-man Napoli on Sunday
Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso claimed the 39-year-old is ‘even stronger’ than 10 years ago
But Gattuso, who played with Ibrahimovic at the San Siro for two seasons between 2010 and 2012, says his form is no surprise and said he had the full confidence of Milan – insisting that the player was ‘stronger’ than he was ’10 or 12 years ago’.
‘Milan believe firmly in Ibra, they believe 100 per cent in what they are doing,’ Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia, via Goal. ‘He seems I think even stronger now than he was 10, 12 years ago.
‘They put the crosses in because they know he’ll get on the end of them. What we did today was create lots of chances and not believe in them fully.’
Gattuso, himself a Milan legend after 468 appearances for the club, enjoyed a Scudetto success with Ibrahimovic in 2010-11 while the forward was on loan from Barcelona, as he scored 14 league goals to aid their run to the title.
Gattuso (right) played with Ibrahimovic (left) for two years and won the league title in 2011
Napoli have enjoyed a decent start to the Italian top flight season but suffered their third loss to leave them in sixth place. The team started the campaign with back-to-back wins, including a 6-0 demolition of Genoa.
Their only defeats have come at home to Sassuolo and a 3-0 walkover against Juventus after failing to turn up amid a surge in Covid cases. After the latest defeat, Gattuso said he was keen for his players to feel supported and did not want to act like their ‘professor’.
‘It’s about mentality,’ he said. ‘Football is about helping each other out, clubbing together, having a kind, reassuring word for your team-mate when they’re struggling.
‘There are too many people who act like professors, who want to teach you everything. This hurts me.’
The Swedish star continues to defy his age and has 10 goals from just six matches this season