Leo Duarte hopes Milan team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic can recover quickly from injury after having a major impact since returning to the club.
Ibrahimovic has scored four goals in all competitions after rejoining the Rossoneri, having previously spent two seasons with them before departing for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.
While now 38, the Swede’s competitive nature has helped inspire his team-mates in training, according to defender Duarte.
However, Milan may be without the talismanic striker when the Serie A season resumes next month, as he suffered a calf problem in training that requires further examination.
“Ibra is a great champion, very competitive,” Duarte – who has had injury problems himself since arriving at San Siro last year – told Sky Sport Italia.
“He helps us a lot in training to stay focused and improve – it really makes a difference for our team.
“We hope he can recover soon because he is very important for us.”
Brazilian Duarte was signed from Flamengo but made just five league appearances before undergoing ankle surgery.