Zlatan Ibrahimovic ‘could be given hybrid ambassadorial role at AC Milan after talks with the club’s owners’ – with Stefano Pioli badly missing the talismanic figure in the dressing room
- The former striker spent two stints at the San Siro in red and black for Milan
- Ibrahimovic played a key role in developing young squad players that is missed
- CHRIS SUTTON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a CLOWN – It’s All Kicking Off
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could yet return to AC Milan in an all-new partnership that would see the 42-year-old act as a club ambassador and member of head coach Stefano Pioli’s backroom staff.
The Sweden international called time on his decorated career with the Rossoneri in 2023, a season after his return helped them seal the Scudetto in his second stint at the San Siro in Milan’s colours.
Upon retiring, Ibrahimovich noted that he ‘will be a Milanista (his) entire life’ as he thanked the fans – and could yet make good on that promise with a new unofficial role.
As per Gazetta dello Sport, the former player will likely divide his time between working for Milan and other entities owned by RedBird Capital Partners, the club’s owners, without occupying a formal existing role in the company’s hierarchy.
Ibrahimovic met with Gerry Cardinale, RedBird’s Chief Investment Officer, on Monday at a hotel on Corso Venezia that the founder uses as his base when in Milan, and spent around two hours discussing how a partnership might work.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic left AC Milan in heroic fashion at the end of last season but could yet return in a hybrid capacity at the San Siro
The 42-year-old has been engaging in talks with RedBird Capital owner Gerry Cardinale over an ambassadorial position
Milan have a shaky hold on third place in the Serie A table following a shock loss to Udinese
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The ex-striker previously visited Milanello on the eve of Milan’s Champions League clash with Newcastle following defeat in the Milanese derby, and there is a growing sense that his leadership will prove a useful tool for Pioli.
Since his departure, the locker room has all but collapsed – in losing Ibrahimovic, the player’s have lost a spiritual guide, a charismatic leader, and a team-mate caable of uniting rather than dividing the team in difficult moments. Pioli himself has lost not just a player, but a technical collaborator.
During his later spell at Milan, Ibrahimovic was keen to use his 24-year playing career to the advantage of his team-mates, and worked hard to help develop younger players, including captain Davide Calabria.
Rafael Leao in particularly is a young talent that has faltered without the guidance of the older man – but he’s by no means the only one who has struggled since the talismanic figure left the club at the end of last season.
In building the partnership, RedBird are thought to be keen to harness not only Ibrahimovic’s Milan nous, but his personal brand, with the former player keen to work with Cardinale in ventures in other sports and entertainment more widely.
The former player has a close bond with Stefano Pioli as well as shared tactical understanding
Ibrahimovic attended Milan’s Champions League match-up against Newcastle after a visit to Milanello on the eve of the tie
Rafael Leao benefitted from Ibrahimovic’s guidance and has looked less steady without the older man
Ibrahimovic could find himself emulating US stars such as LeBron James – himself a passive investor in Milan through his Main Street Advisors fund – and the strength of Ibrahimovic’s name recognition in America, which stems from his time playing for LA Galaxy, could add further lustre to a potential collaboration.
RedBird’s plan is thought to be ambitious, with an eye on forming similar partnerships with big-name sports personalities who can act as global ambassadors across different sectors with a view to growing the company.
But Ibrahimovic is keen not to be siloed into a figurehead role, instead wanting to take a particularly hands-on stance in Milan.
Talks remain ongoing, but Cardinale has received support from Milan directly, with Ibrahimovic previously meeting with president Paolo Scaroni, and chief executive Giorgio Furlani.
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