The Reuters global sports blog
Ibrahimovic answers critics but questions remain about Milan
It’s taken a long time, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has finally delivered a performance worthy of his talent against an English team in the Champions League.
Long scoffed at by British fans and journalists for his pale imitation of a top-class striker in Europe’s top competition, Zlatan delivered something of a virtuoso performance as Milan thrashed Arsenal 4-0 at the San Siro, rendering the last 16 return leg in London next month all but meaningless.
His passing – particularly in the first half when his pinpoint cross picked out Robinho for the Rossoneri‘s second goal – was sublime and in the second half he got the goal he richly deserved, firing home Milan’s fourth from the penalty spot after he was dragged down by Johan Djourou.
But questions still remain about the Swede and his team mates. As excellent as he was on it, Ibra’s movement off the ball was sometimes slow and laboured, while every time a pass went astray he gestured his discontent to his colleagues.
Indeed, his whole team seemed affected by selfishness; Robinho never bothered to thank Zlatan for the great assist and several Milan players took wild shots when Ibra was better-placed to finish.
Once ranked as Europe’s best for their clinical, technical displays in Europe, Italian sides have stood in the shadow of Spanish “tiki-taka” for the past few years.
Wednesday’s display may say more about Arsenal’s decline than Italy’s rise, but if Ibra can keep producing performances like this and Milan play more as a team, the seven-times winners could yet go a very long way in this competition.