Tuesday August 4 2020
Bennacer: 'I get the ball to Zlatan'

Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer studies Marco Verratti and Thiago Alcantara to improve as a regista and reveals he looks to ‘get the ball as quickly as possible’ to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The 22-year-old arrived from Empoli last summer and has impressed for the Rossoneri, establishing himself in Stefano Pioli’s starting line-up at San Siro.

He admitted that he takes inspiration from Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Verratti and Thiago of Bayern Munich.

“This is my second year playing in Italy as a regista,” Bennacer told the Athletic. “I’m still working at it. I think I’m improving. I’m definitely learning a lot.

“I watch a lot of Marco Verratti and Thiago Alcantara. Thiago is so, so good.

“I have to give the ball away as little as possible. Zero. To do that, I have to be concentrated whenever I get the ball.

“I always have to be in the zone. I have to read the game. I need to look first and look early. I do all that already, but I have to get even better at it.”

Bennacer admitted that the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in January played an important part in helping him and his teammates develop.

The veteran returned to the Rossoneri after a stint in the MLS with LA Galaxy and contributed 10 goals and five assists in his 18 Serie A matches in 2020.

The 38-year-old convinced the Algeria international Bennacer to always look for him when he was on the ball.

“He demands perfection. Always. You can’t make mistakes when Zlatan’s around. He makes you a better player. That’s how we all think about it anyway.

“When you have a player like him on the pitch, you look to get him the ball as quickly as possible, even if there’s another solution on.

“We’re on the same wavelength. I get the ball to him so he can do what he wants. I look for him a lot.”

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