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Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns for virus-affected Milan derby

By: AP | Milan |

October 15, 2020 8:24:02 pm

Zlatan Ibrahimovic examined constructive for Covid-19. (File/Reuters)

There will probably be no smoke billowing throughout the stadium from ultras’ flares, no followers taunting one another with chants and flags, no roars because the groups stroll out.

It’ll nonetheless be the Milan derby, although.

A wierd ambiance at San Siro awaits on Saturday when Inter Milan hosts metropolis rival AC Milan with only one,000 followers allowed within the 80,000-seat stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic. There have been even some doubts final week about whether or not the derby would go forward due to rising COVID-19 instances in each squads.

The virus has dominated out Inter gamers Ashley Younger, Alessandro Bastoni, Milan Škriniar, Radja Nainggolan, Roberto Gagliardini and Ionut Radu. Milan will probably be lacking Léo Duarte and Matteo Gabbia.

One participant who is sort of sure to be on the sector is Milan ahead Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who returned to coaching this week after recovering from the virus.

Former Inter and Milan ahead Christian Vieri believes Ibrahimovic will probably be stronger than ever.

“He could have damaged the treadmill day-after-day,” Vieri mentioned in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. “Somebody who says that COVID had a nasty concept to problem him, is mentally stronger than everybody.

“He’ll play the derby with a cigarette in his mouth, belief me.”

Ibrahimovic arrived final January and helped to show Milan’s fortunes final season with 10 targets in 18 Serie A matches.

Milan completed sixth however the 39-year-old Ibrahimovic joked that if he had been there from the beginning of the season the Rossoneri would have received the league. He has three targets within the two matches he’s performed this season.

“Milan is a younger staff, but it surely has a primary, the veteran Ibra,” Vieri mentioned.

“He’ll rating greater than 20 targets. Ibrahimovic offers you expertise which has no equal and encompasses every thing: Method, imaginative and prescient of the sport, scoring targets, making targets, and making his staff play higher, as a result of he raises the extent of high quality of everybody.”

Earlier than the season, Antonio Conte’s Inter facet was anticipated to mount a critical title problem, whereas for Milan simply qualifying for the Champions League could be an achievement. For now, the roles are reversed.

Milan goes into the derby on a 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions and having received all three of its league matches with out conceding a purpose.

Inter drew its final match, in opposition to Lazio, and has already let in six targets.

“We labored so laborious throughout lockdown, it’s not by probability that we’ve by no means misplaced,” Milan defender Theo Hernández mentioned. “However the highway is lengthy.”

Milan has not received a Serie A derby match since 2016, whereas Inter has received 5 of their final six conferences within the league.

“In comparison with a 12 months in the past, we really feel rather a lot stronger … we’re stronger, every thing has modified,” Hernández mentioned. “We’re calm, though we all know nicely that it isn’t simply any match. It’s the derby.

“However we now have to play as we now have completed till now: Operating, combating, and doing our utmost to win it. Now we’re a special Milan, we will do it.”

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