In a rather surprising twist, the build-up to AC Milan’s Champions League opener against Newcastle United ended up being dominated by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s presence.
Ibrahimovic was present at Milanello the day before the game, met Gerry Cardinale on the morning of the match and then he watched the 0-0 draw at San Siro next to the CEO Giorgio Furlani, which obviously sparked concrete suggestions about a return.
According to Calciomercato.com, at the end of last year upon the natural expiry of his contract as a player, the Milan management – through Furlani – offered to him without success a role as the team manager.
The Swede declined it at the time, because he hadn’t yet decided what to do with his future. Today the situation is no different, but the new conversations held first with Furlani at Milanello and then with Cardinale in a well-known hotel in the centre of Milan suggest things might be moving.
The team manager role – who acts as a go-between for the squad and the upper management – was filled during the summer and doesn’t excite Ibrahimovic anyway.
A position as Pioli’s deputy is not possible at present because the 41-year-old would have to complete coaching courses to obtain his license and sit on the bench. The same goes for working alongside Moncada and D’Ottavio as a director.
A feasible situation is instead to hold the position of vice-president, as done by Pavel Nedved first at Juve and then by Javier Zanetti at Inter, albeit not having a representative position on the board of directors.
Finally there is the possibility of joining Pioli’s staff, but with a role to be studied, something between mental coach and motivator. Hypotheses and opportunities circulate which have the same end goal: to have Ibrahimovic back in the club.