Friday November 22 2019
Pioli: 'Ibrahimovic is a champion'

Milan boss Stefano Pioli admits Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "a great champion" but insists Mattia Caldara is still "weeks" away from returning.

Pioli was speaking at a press conference ahead of the clash with Napoli at San Siro on Saturday night, where he was asked about Milan's pursuit of Ibrahimovic.

The veteran striker has already played for the Rossoneri, winning a Scudetto with them in 2011.

"[Zlatan] Ibrahimovic is a great champion, but I have to think about the table," he warned.

"Our task is to think only about the game against Napoli. It will be a difficult game.

"We need to be motivated and we need to give 200 percent for the 60,000 fans who will come to support us. Our motivation isn't lacking.

"I prefer to manage the whole squad [during the international break], but our players with the national teams have done well and that makes me happy."

Caldara's agent recently claimed the defender was ready to come back, but the 54-year-old made it clear that was not quite the case.

"Caldara is fine, but he isn't ready to play yet. He is training with the Primavera because he will be playing with them tomorrow.

"He needs a couple more weeks. [Andrea] Conti and [Giacomo] Bonaventura can play tomorrow."

Krzysztof Piatek has scored just three Serie A goals this season, but Pioli stressed he was happy with the Pole's performances.

"Piatek worked well against Juventus, he could've also scored and his confidence is growing, plus he scored for the national team [against Israel].

"We will stay with a back four, the team works better with a four rather than with a back three.

"Kessie was the last to return from international duty, but my goal is to leave room for everyone.

"It depends on who is available and working well in the squad. Rebic is also a possibility for tomorrow."