Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to stay at AC Milan for another season in a bid to help the once-mighty side end their long wait for a major trophy and return to the Champions League, the Italian club said on Monday.
The charismatic Swede, who will be 39 in October, returned for a second stint at Milan in January on a six-month contract and inspired an upturn in form as they finished last season with a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
That lifted them to sixth place in Serie A and booked them a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds.
“AC Milan is delighted to announce that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has renewed his contract with the club until June 30, 2021,” said a statement.
“The Swedish champion began his journey with the club in 2010 when he made 85 appearances and scored 56 goals during a stint which also yielded one Scudetto and one Supercoppa. Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January this year and contributed significantly to AC Milan’s return to Europe, netting 11 goals in 20 matches, reaching the 100 appearances milestone with the Rossoneri,” it added.
Ibrahimovic took part in his first training session of the season on Monday.
He had already given a strong indication he would stay on, in an interview with Milan’s own television channel following his return from holiday on Sunday.
‘I feel at home’
“Finally, everything’s sorted out and I could come back to where I feel at home,” he said. “Now, it’s time to work hard and push on.
“As I’ve always said, I’m not here to be a mascot, I’m here to get results and help the team, the coach and the club to get AC Milan back to where we belong.
“We did very well over the last six months but we didn’t win anything and this season I have the possibility to be here from the start. We need to continue where we left off, work hard, and make sacrifices.”
Ibrahimovic played for many leading European clubs, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris St Germain and Manchester United, before joining MLS side LA Galaxy in 2018.
Seven-times European champions Milan have not won a major trophy since 2011, when they claimed the last of their 18 Serie A titles, and since then have frequently finished in mid-table.
They last played in the Champions League in 2013-14.