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Sat Apr 19 04:19:48 SAST 2014

Rumours of Ibra's departure worry Milan

Alberto Cagliano, Sapa-dpa | 16 May, 2012 10:150 Comments
AC Milan v Novara Calcio  - Serie A
Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan reacts during the Serie A match between Milan and Novara at the San Siro on May 13, 2012 in Milan, Italy
Image by: Claudio Villa / Getty Images

Speculation that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be seeking a new team are troubling AC Milan fans as the Serie A giants gear up for a major renovation.

Local media on Wednesday quoted the Devils’ as denying rumours that the Swedish star was often at loggerheads with coach Massimiliano Allegri and team-mates in the closing weeks of the season.

The ANSA news agency earlier had quoted undisclosed sources relating a conversation between club owner Silvio Berlusconi and vice president Adriano Galliani, who seemingly talked about a tense situation in the team’s changing room.

But Galliani was quoted as saying that “I spent all of Sunday evening (after the closing game of the Serie A season) with Zlatan and he promised eternal love to Milan.” 

Ibrahimovic, 30, last week told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that he intends to remain at Milan until his contract ends in 2014, but wondered if “the club has doubts about the general project, about the players, about the future.” 

The departure of veterans Gennaro Gattuso, Filippo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Nesta, Mark van Bommel and Gianluca Zambrotta virtually opened an intense transfer market campaign for Milan after a rather disappointing season.

Some believe, however, that Berlusconi, a media mogul who turned to politics in 1994, may not be inclined to spend big money on the club as he has done since acquiring it in 1986.

The Rossoneri, who under Berlusconi won five of their seven continental trophies, were this year eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by Barcelona.

They also failed to retain the Serie A title, closing the season on Sunday in second place, four points behind Juventus who also eliminated them in the Italian Cup.

For the maverick Ibrahimovic, it was the first season without a title after those won consecutively since 2004 with Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Milan — although Juve were stripped of the two titles he won with them in a sports trial.

The striker was the Serie A top scorer this season with 28 goals, plus five in the Champions League, which seems to have triggered interest from English champions Manchester City, whose Mario Balotelli in return has in the past shown interest for the Devils.

Ibra’s agent, Mino Raiola, meanwhile was quoted as saying: “We will know what Ibra does on September 1,” after the end of the transfer window.

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