"I am very happy. Now there will be two of us to scare the players. " That is how Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacted to the announced arrival of Mario Mandzukic, who today officially signed and become a new 9, thus showing that he is not afraid of the challenge of the cult Rossoneri jersey, regardless of the fact that he played his last competitive game 10 months ago that in Qatar, while he has been separated from serious European football since the spring of 2019 when he left Juventus.
He waited a long time for an invitation to return to the big stage and finally he was welcomed by Stefano Pioli's Milan. In any case, Milan is capable of competing for the title of champion in Serie A. Ibrahimović has been terrorizing rivals since the beginning of the season, he has a healing effect on all younger players, but even such an ace needs a "partner in crime"
"In football, good guys are not enough for you. I'm not saying that Mario is not good, but the team must sometimes rely on a person who is different in character from him ", Milan's director Paolo Maldini plastically explains to the questions of the fans worried about the two volcanic temperaments on the field.
In any case, Mandzukic signed a contract that will bring him 1,800,000 euros by the end of the season. If the Rossoneri secure a place in the Champions League - and that now seems like a very realistic scenario, because they have 10 points more than the fifth-placed Juventus - the Croat will automatically get a contract for the next season, of course with twice the salary of 3,600,000 euros.
But if they want that to happen, Mandzukic will have to break the curse of Milan's number 9 jersey in the half-season in which he will celebrate his 35th birthday. One of the cult ones in the world of football, something like the "7" of Manchester United.
At "San Siro", this number was celebrated by aces such as Marco van Basten, George Weah, and finally Pipo Inzaghi. From the legendary Pipo and his retirement in 2012 - nothing. "Nine" faded, lost its luster.
First, Alexandre Pato. He played seven games and scored two goals before being sent back for Corinthians. Then Alessandro Matri arrived, came from Juventus, played 11 matches, and only once shook the opponent's net before everyone realized that was not the case and gave a chance to the already proven goalscorer Fernando Torres. 10 games and another goal confirmed that something is not ok in the team of Milan.