Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an enigma. Even at the age of 41, he is still going strong and remains a part of AC Milan – with the intention to make his return from injury later this season. He’s been playing at a professional level for 24 years now and has played well over 800 games in his career.
He’s played for the biggest of European clubs and almost won everything there is to win in his career. Zlatan has earned high-profile transfers to the likes of AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United across his career and has been a goal machine wherever he’s played – with nearly 500 domestic goals.
Even when it looks like the Swedish forward might be down and out, he seems to come back up. The 41-year-old played quite an influential role in helping AC Milan win the Serie A title for the first time in a decade last season, scoring eight goals in 19 league games.
However, just after the season ended, Zlatan made a shocking revelation that he was playing with a knee injury at the age of 40 in Milan. He underwent knee surgery at an age when footballers are normally retired and has been out of action since May.
But being the warrior he is, Zlatan has promised to at least play once more for Milan this season. He’s returned to training and recently took part in a training game where he played against his own son!
Indeed, Zlatan’s eldest son Maximilian currently plays for AC Milan’s U17 side. After being inspired by his dad, Max decided to pursue a similar career and is now trying to script an iconic career of his own in football.
He decided to pursue his father’s footsteps in football and trained as a 10-year-old in Manchester United’s youth academy in 2016 when his dad used to play for the Red Devils. Max showcased impressive potential at a very young age and even used to train with PSG’s youth academy players during Zlatan’s final years at the club.
What’s common between Zlatan and his two sons
Maximilian and his young brother Vincent, however, share a competitive spirit that rivals their dad’s. In fact, they are anything but in awe of their father’s achievements and are actually determined to oust him in every department.
Zlatan spoke about this in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, saying –
When I try to help them, they go, ‘Papa, we know how to do it better than you.’
It’s become a competition now, as to who is the best. If you ask them, they are the best. They are skilful. I don’t force them to (become professionals). I force them to be active and train and get disciplined. I don’t like lazy people.
I’m a little bit curious about how the world looks on that side. I’m in the right place so let’s see what happens.
Recently, Max achieved the dream of trying to defeat his dad on a football pitch. Zlatan is currently being made to train with the younger players to regain his fitness and also received some match sharpness in the training game.
Max Ibrahimovic only joined the Milan team last year from the Swedish side Hammarby Youth. He has made four appearances split between their U17 side and U18 team. He’s yet to start a game for the Italian side’s youth teams, but it’s not easy to be a permanent starter for one of the best teams in the country.
The 16-year-old linked up with Zlatan during the training game, with the 41-year-old striker even posting video highlights of that game with the caption ‘DNA’. Max naturally operates more as a wing-forward or a winger, preferring to move in from the wide areas rather than stick around the centre of the box most of the time.
Vincent also plays at a youth level for AC Milan and is trying to make his way up the ranks. He is younger than Maximilian and is yet to be even viable to play among the senior players.
However, the 16-year-old Ibrahimovic has entered the necessary age to make a breakthrough at the senior level.
To make his senior debut at an even younger age than his father (who did it at the age of 18) – Maximilian will need to perform at an extremely high standard and be even more explosive than a young Zlatan was.