Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists that he will play for as long as he can.
At 39, he has overturned Milan’s fortunes, scoring 10 goals in his six Serie A starts this season.
“The first question they asked me when I returned to Milan was related to all the ex players who had returned and had not performed according to expectations, failing to repeat what they did at their first experience at Milan,” he said (via MilanNews).
“What’s the difference in my case? I simply replied that I have never lost my passion for what I do. Every time I go out on the pitch I feel like a child eating a candy for the first time. I understand that the ball is my best friend and I want to be with my best friend for the rest of my life.”
On why he returned to Milan, he added, “Life is all about challenges. I felt I had done enough and I started thinking about whether to continue or not.
“For me it was a big challenge to come back here to try to change the mentality, to try to change the situation and to convey to the team what Milan was. The Milan I know, the Milan that the whole world knows.”
On the pressure he puts on his team-mates, “When I play I bring my character, my personality and obviously my quality onto the pitch. I put a lot of pressure on my teammates, I try to get the most out of each of them.
“Some take it well, others a little less, others don’t hold up. They go into difficulty because they perform at a high level only when necessary, but I decide that we have to do it every day. The way you train is the way you play.
“Whether you are young or old I put the same pressure on you because if you are here there is a reason, you are here because you are good enough.
“But off the pitch, if you are young obviously I speak to you differently, I treat you differently, the behaviour is not the same compared to the older ones. But on the field they are all the same for me.”
When asked if he would continue playing into his forties, the Swede replied, “I’m never satisfied, I always want more and maybe that’s why I’m here today and I’m able to play and do what I’m doing.
“I don’t see many players, in the past and in the present, able to do the same. I consider myself like Benjamin Battuon, every day that passes I rejuvenate. I promise I will play as long as I can. As long as I am able I will play at a high level. I need to feel alive, to feel that I am giving something back.”