Berlusconi hoping to lure Ibrahimovic to third division Monza

Milan (AFP) – Former AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday he hoped Zlatan Ibrahimovic would sign for his modest, third division club Monza amid reports the Swedish star is set to return to Italy.

“Ibrahimovic for Milan? I hope he comes to Monza,” the 83-year-old Italian media magnate told journalists on the sidelines of a regional initiative of his Forza Italia political party in Milan. 

Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi brought Ibrahimovic to AC Milan in the summer of 2010. 

Berlusconi’s 30-year ownership of the club ended in 2017 when he sold the seven-time European and 18-time Serie A champions to a consortium led by Chinese businessman Li Yonghong.

US fund Elliott took over last year after Li defaulted on a loan to buy the club.

Berlusconi purchased Monza in September 2018 for around three million euros having sold Milan for 740 million.

The club from the north-east of Milan are currently leading Serie C.

Ibrahimovic fuelled speculation that he is set to return to the peninsula after saying in a recent interview: “See you soon in Italy”.

The 38-year-old striker left Los Angeles Galaxy following the club’s elimination from the Major League Soccer playoffs.

AC Milan, Napoli, Roma and Bologna have been touted as clubs interested in signing the veteran.

Ibrahimovic played for two seasons between 2010 and 2012 with AC Milan, helping them to their last Serie A title, and scoring 42 goals in 61 league appearances.

He also won three league titles with Inter Milan, and two with Juventus, which were both revoked following the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal.

Should Ibrahimovic choose Monza, it may be something of a culture shock.

Formed in 1912, Monza were demoted to Serie D following bankruptcy in 2015.

Their Stadio Brianteo home has a capacity of just over 18,000 but current restrictions mean that only 7,500 fans can be accommodated.

AC Milan, meanwhile, mark their 120th anniversary this weekend against Sassuolo.

Coach Stefano Pioli refused to speculate on possible arrivals, as the club sit tenth in Serie A.

“There’s time to make evaluations, the transfer window is in January and still a long way off,” said Pioli. 

“For now, I’m very happy with my players. Discussions are taking place with the club on a daily basis, we’ll see.”

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