Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels the 4-0 demolition of Arsenal was “Milan’s best team performance” and praised Thiago Silva as the “best defender in the world.”
The striker was on target with a penalty in Wednesday’s Champions League Round of 16 first leg encounter, while Kevin-Prince Boateng and a Robinho brace rounded out the scoreline.
“Everyone said it was easy because we won 4-0, but if you look back at the game it really was not so simple,” Ibra told Goal.com.
“Normally we tend to relax when 1-0 or 2-0 up, so we can control the match, but we continued pushing. We kept it in top gear for the full 90 minutes. I’ve been at the club for a year and a half now and this was probably Milan’s best team performance in my time here.”
Zlatan also revealed why he did not join Arsenal when they first contacted him in 2000, still playing in Sweden for Malmo.
“Arsenal came to me and said they were interested, so I went to London. However, when I arrived I got the sensation Arsene Wenger saw this as a trial run. I would not have turned up for an audition. I thought they wanted to convince me to join them. In my view, you either want a player or you don’t.
“In any case, I made the right choice at the time and I am happy now, as it is still the right choice.”
Ibrahimovic had words of advice for a current Arsenal star, Robin van Persie, who could well leave in the summer.
“I’m sure van Persie will do great things wherever he plays. Naturally, if you don’t win anything at club level for a few years then something does trigger inside you. Inevitably, you feel that desire to win. If you don’t feel that instinct, then I’d never want you in my team.
“Milan have the best defender in the world: Thiago Silva. Believe me, I’ve played alongside people like Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, who are all fantastic, but Thiago Silva is like all of them put together. He has everything a defender needs to become the leader of a team. I can’t understand why people don’t praise him more.”
The Rossoneri now dive back into the Scudetto race and are top of the table, even if Juventus have a game in hand.
“Last season we’d pick up the points we needed even when not playing well. This year that isn’t happening. Taking home a result when not at your best is an important quality. We also had some strange injuries that ruled players out for a long time.
“Juventus are certainly doing well, but we must not forget they play only once a week, whereas we play every three days. It makes a big difference.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!