Maldini – Ibrahimovic is on the same level as Van Basten

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini has claimed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on the same level as Marco van Basten due to the similarities he has seen between the two players.

It’s no more news that AC Milan had some brilliant attacking talents in their ranks in the past. When they were dominant in the 1980s and early 90s, Van Basten led the line for the Rossoneri in style and scored a whopping 125 goals in 201 appearances.

Very few have been able to replicate his numbers although his career was cut short by injury. Ibrahimovic is another forward who has impressed for AC Milan in his two spells at the club.

He made a return to Italy in January and is playing his part to ensure a surprise league triumph for the Rossoneri since 2011 when he led the scoring chart under the management of Massimiliano Allegri.

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Zlatan now has 78 goals in 115 games for AC Milan and Maldini has admitted that the 39-year-old deserves to stand alongside heroes like Van Basten. In a chat with DAZN, he said: 

“[Ibrahimovic and Van Basten] are two super champions. Ranking them is difficult.

“[Franco] Baresi and Van Basten were the ones who had something more than the others.

“Marco unfortunately had to stop in his best moment. Ibra, for what he has done and what he is doing, is undoubtedly at that level too.

“[Last year] Ibra was the right man to make that mix between youth and experience. But it was a risk for sure.

“He came from two years in the MLS, Serie A is a completely different thing.

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“When we proposed an 18-month contract, he told us: ‘Let’s do six months because I don’t know what I can give you’.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was impressive in the second half of the 2019/20 season on his return to Milan and this earned him an extended stay at the club. 

Regardless, the towering Swede is only committed to a deal till the summer of 2021 although his performances this season should earn him a fresh deal even at 40.

He’s currently nursing his way back from injury and the manager Stefano Pioli will only be eager to see him return once he attains full fitness.