Zlatan Ibrahimovic rarely hesitates to give his young AC Milan teammates a lengthy and aggressive lecture with Algeria midfielder Ismael Bennacer stating that it is because the Sweden striker “cares and tries to take us to the highest level with him.”
Bennacer joined Milan from Empoli in 2019 and has, over the past two seasons, become one of the key members of the team who are currently leading Serie A.
“Even if sometimes we see that he’s screaming on the pitch, it’s better than if he didn’t say anything, otherwise it would mean that he doesn’t care,” the 23-year-old told the media.
“He brings us a lot. With all the experience he has acquired, he tries to take us to the highest level with him, he always seeks perfection. He gives us a lot of advice.”
The 39-year-old Swedish star has been a talismanic figure since returning to Milan in January 2020, playing a vital role in reviving the fallen European giants.
Ibrahimovic has become a standard bearer among a new generation of young talent, with the average age of the seven-time European champions one of the lowest in Serie A.
Playing alongside Bennacer is 24-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie, France’s Theo Hernandez, 23, Portuguese Rafael Leao and Belgian Alexis Saelemaekers, both 21.
Despite his experience, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is also only 21.
Milan were top of the league at the halfway point in January for the first time since 2011, the year they went on to win their 18th and last Scudetto. They lead city rivals Inter by two points before their trip to Spezia on Saturday.
But there is still a long way to go if they are to last the distance and deny Juventus a 10th consecutive Serie A title.
“If we don’t do something this year, everything we’ve done before that, since March, will be forgotten,” Bennacer said.
“We must, for ourselves, try to make Milan the great club that it was.
“It’s also for the fans. It’s very, very boring to play behind closed doors. They’re not there but they follow us, for them we have to give everything.”
“I work a lot on my faults. I was a little too aggressive, not thinking,” admits Bennacer, who has been learning quickly under the tutelage of Ibrahimovic.
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By FARPost Reporter