Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic hoping to tempt striker to Italian side

Harry Latham-Coyle
Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks on: Getty Images

Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic is hopeful of convincing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to join the Serie A side.

The Swedish striker left LA Galaxy earlier this month and has been strongly linked with a return to AC Milan as well as Bologna. He announced this week that he had bought a quarter of the shares in Swedish club Hammarby.

Speaking in his first press conference since announcing he was battling leukaemia in July, the Serbian said he expected a decision from Ibrahimovic soon.

“With Ibrahimovic we talked to each other a month ago, for the last time about about 10 days ago, now let’s see what happens,” Mihajlovic said in the press conference as reported by Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

“He’s interested, for me, for the friendship that binds us, but I understand that there are other solutions.

“Before making any decision, however, he will call me but I don’t think it will happen before December 10. In the next few days we’ll hear but for now it’s all on stand-by.”

Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, has spoken of his admiration for Mihajlovic but labelled Milan – where he has played for both AC and Inter – his “second home”.

“Milan is not my second city, it’s my second home,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I have great memories of my time there.

“I have just ended my experience in Los Angeles. It was fantastic, now there are two heroes of two worlds; myself and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

“I talk a lot to Sinisa. He is my friend, an exceptional person and a unique man.”

Former Yugoslavia international Mihajlovic, who has managed a host of clubs in Italy including Sampdoria and AC Milan, has been undergoing chemotherapy.

He made an emotional return to the dugout in Bologna’s draw at Hellas Verona in August and is hopeful of being able to make a more permanent return in time.

The 50-year-old spoke at the press conference – which was attended by the whole Bologna squad – to explain his treatment and said he is hopeful of being able to return to the stadium for home matches against AC Milan and Atalanta in December.

“It was four and a half months hard, I was locked up in a hospital room, alone. My biggest wish was to take a breath of fresh air and I couldn’t do it,” he added.

“I never felt like a hero, but a man, so strong, with character, who never gives up, but always a man with all his frailties.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked with a return to AC Milan (AFP via Getty Images)

“These diseases cannot be defeated only with courage but also with care. who are sick, of leukaemia or of some serious illness, who must not feel less strong if they do not face the disease as I faced it. The only thing they must never lose is the will to live, to fight.

“I spent two days on the pitch and I’m very tired, I take 19 tablets a day, from eight until midnight. But I hope to come out of it as a better man. In my previous life patience was not my forte but I also improved that and I enjoy every minute of the day.”

On when he may be able to return to the dugout, he said: “We reason day by day, in the first month I will have to do 2-3 checks a week.

“I can go to the training camp but not to the stadium even if I think I’ll be in at least one of the two matches, if not both, with Milan and Atalanta.”

PA

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