Ibrahimovic brings a winning mentality to Milan, says Ranieri

Facing Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "never a good start to a year", said Claudio Ranieri, whose Sampdoria side takes on AC Milan on Monday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his first spell with AC Milan   -  Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will bring a winning mentality back to AC Milan, according to Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri.

Ibrahimovic has returned to Milan for a second spell with the Serie A club after leaving Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 38-year-old spent 18 months with the Galaxy, scoring 53 Major League Soccer goals, and was linked to numerous clubs before settling on a return to San Siro, with Milan languishing in 11th place.

Having signed a deal until the end of the season, with an option for 2020-21, Ibrahimovic is likely to make his second Milan debut when the Rossoneri take on struggling Sampdoria on Monday, and Ranieri has no doubt the veteran forward will be a fantastic addition.

"I hope to start 2020 with a great performance and some points, although facing Ibrahimovic is never a good start to a year!" Ranieri said during a news conference on Saturday.

"Milan have a lot of quality players, so their current position in the table is inexplicable. They'll feel enthusiastic and Ibrahimovic brings a winning mentality.

"I am absolutely certain Ibra will play, probably from the start. San Siro will be fired up, so we require cool heads."

Bologna was one of the other Serie A sides interested in Ibrahimovic and its coach Sinisa Mihajlovic believes his club would have been a better fit for the former Sweden international.

"It is disappointing, because I think he’d have had more fun here," Bologna coach Mihajlovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sportweek.

"It would've been good for him, for the city and the club, with the team playing to help set him up for goals. I have no complaints, because he had said that if he'd chosen Bologna, it would've been for me. I realise there are other factors at stake, including family commitments.

"Ibra did call me before making his decision, so he kept his word and remains a dear friend. It just means I'll have to beat him on the pitch now."

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