Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubts he will remain at Milan if the situation does not change while insisting neither he nor the Serie A club belongs in the Europa League.
Ibrahimovic returned to Milan – where he previously won the Scudetto in 2011 – as a free agent in January after leaving MLS side LA Galaxy but there are doubts over his future beyond 2019-20.
The 38-year-old striker has scored six goals since his Milan comeback, rejuvenating the team and helping the Rossoneri – seven-time Champions League winners – move into Europa League contention.
Milan are seventh and just two points adrift of Roma and Coppa Italia champions Napoli through 31 league games after stunning leaders Juventus 4-2 on Tuesday.
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Despite Milan’s resurgence, head coach Stefano Pioli is set to be replaced by German Ralf Rangnick, who has been tipped to combine the role with that of sporting director, which is currently occupied by club legend Paolo Maldini.
Amid the uncertainty and chief executive, Ivan Gazidis’ reported plans to bring in Rangnick, former Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona star Ibrahimovic issued a warning.
“Ibra plays to win something or he stays at home,” Ibrahimovic told La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s Sport week magazine in an interview set to be released on Saturday.
“They told me that retiring in America was too easy, so I came back to Milan. I am here purely for passion because I’m basically playing for free… Then this COVID situation stopped everything and I thought, maybe there’s something trying to tell me that I should retire…
“Fortunately, we got back on the pitch. My calf managed to get involved too, but after two days I was ready to come back into the team. Ibra is like that. But they told me to take it slow.”
Ibrahimovic added: “Ibra was born to play football and is still the best at playing football. We’ll see how I feel in two months. We’ll also see what’s happening with the club. If this is the situation, to be honest, it’s unlikely you’ll see me at Milan next season.
“Ibra is not a player for the Europa League and Milan are not a club who belong in the Europa League.”
Quizzed on a reported confrontation with Gazidis prior to the Coppa Italia semi-final, Ibrahimovic said: “I spoke for me and for the team. I needed to have some explanations on the future, both mine and of Milan. I said that this is not the Grande Milan I once experienced, that is true, but we must do the best we can even in this situation. All the way to the end.
“Ibra is here, Ibra takes care of it. I have to be here or you’ll lose the fans. I don’t know if there will be another club after Milan, I never like to close doors to opportunities. I will only go somewhere I have some control, not where words are worth nothing. I still have too much passion for what I do.”
Pioli only replaced Marco Giampaolo in October and while he has overseen an upturn in results, former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick has reportedly agreed to take over in 2020-21.
“Who is Rangnick? I don’t even know who he is,” Ibrahimovic added.