Ibrahimovic 'proud' to become Serie A's oldest goalscorer

By Sports Desk March 18, 2023

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was "proud" to become Serie A's oldest goalscorer, but it was little consolation after Milan were beaten 3-1 at Udinese.

Aged 41 years and 166 days, Ibrahimovic's penalty in first-half stoppage time at Stadio Friuli saw him overtake former Milan defender Alessandro Costacurta (41 years and 25 days – May 2007).

Ibrahimovic – who captained Milan – slammed his spot-kick down the middle of the goal after being fortunately allowed to retake it, having seen his initial effort saved by Marco Silvestri before the VAR ordered it to be taken again after Udinese's Beto had encroached.

That equalised Roberto Pereyra's ninth-minute strike, but Beto restored Udinese's lead just two minutes after Milan levelled, before Kingsley Ehizibue wrapped things up in the second half.

"It would have been much better if Costacurta had kept this record," Ibrahimovic said to Sky Sport Italia after the game. "I am proud to enter the history of this club which is a great club where many great players have passed and that means a lot to me.

"This goal didn't bring three points in my first as captain and unfortunately the game didn't go as we wanted. I felt very well, I haven't played in the starting line-up for 14 months, the important thing is to feel good and if I'm as good as today, I can play, I have no doubts about that."

The Rossoneri have suffered seven defeats in the league, five of which have come in their last nine games, having lost just four on their way to winning the Scudetto last season.

Ibrahimovic suggested that teams have been putting a bit more effort in against Milan this season as the defending champions.

"Playing as the Italian champions means that each team faces you as if it were a final, it's different from last year," he said. "This year we have more pressure in all matches, it's normal but you have to be ready because everyone wants to beat you.

"This team doesn't have the experience of playing as champions of Italy, we can't have the same high performance in all the games, but that's not an excuse, it's just an explanation to understand the situation."

Related items

  • 'Stranger things have happened' says Scotland's Morgan on potential Germany upset 'Stranger things have happened' says Scotland's Morgan on potential Germany upset

    Lewis Morgan believes Scotland can surprise Germany ahead of their Euro 2024 opener against the hosts this Friday. 

    Steve Clarke's side travel to Munich in search of their first victory over their opponents since 1999, having failed to beat Die Mannschaft in their previous four encounters.

    The New York Red Bulls winger was a late arrival in Scotland's provisional squad after it was announced Ben Doak had to withdraw through injury, and made it into the travelling group of 26. 

    Morgan ended his six-year absence from the international stage with a substitute appearance in a 2-2 draw against Finland at Hampden Park last week to earn his third cap for his country, 2,193 days since his last. 

    The 27-year-old has scored nine goals in 16 MLS appearances so far this season in the Eastern Conference, and believes his side have every chance of starting their Group A campaign with a victory. 

    "Absolutely, stranger things have happened in football," Morgan said about the possibility of Scotland upsetting the host nation.

    "We've got a really, really talented squad here, a good group of players playing at the highest level in world football.

    "There's no reason why we can't go there and get something, but we can only do that if we give the best version of ourselves and stick to the game plan."

    Following Friday's fixture against Germany, the Scots will face Switzerland before concluding their group campaign in Stuttgart against Hungary, with the hopes of reaching the knockout stages of an international competition for the first time in their history. 

  • Berhalter: USA focusing on performance rather than result against Brazil Berhalter: USA focusing on performance rather than result against Brazil

    United States head coach Gregg Berhalter has said he will be prioritising player performance and not a result ahead of his side's friendly fixture against Brazil. 

    Berhalter watched on as the USA began their Copa America preparations with a 5-1 defeat to Colombia in Maryland, their heaviest defeat since 2016. 

    Los Cafeteros scored three times in 11 minutes during the second half, reawakening scepticism among supporters about the ability of the squad to compete against the top sides in international football. 

    But ahead of their meeting with the five-time World Cup winners, Berhalter insisted that his team will not change course and continue preparations as planned for the 48th edition of the tournament. 

    "We want to gain information on both Brazil and our own players, so we have to be brave and we have to continue with our plan," said Berhalter. 

    "Obviously a lot of pressure from the outside after a 5-1 defeat at home but for us, again, it's about preparing this group for Copa America."

    The USA begin their Group C campaign against Bolivia, who won the tournament in 1963, before facing Panama and Uruguay in the hopes of replicating their semi-final run in the competition in 2016. 

    Berhalter said that he and his coaching staff will be focused more on performance than the result against the Selecao Canarinha in Florida on Wednesday, having failed to beat their opponents since 1998, losing by an aggregate scoreline of 8-28. 

    "If we look after the game and we see 11 guys, 16 guys, performing at an eight out of 10 level, that will be enough," he said. 

    "We know Brazil's a very good team but for us it's about how do we perform at our highest level against teams like this."

  • Ronaldo as hungry as ever as Portugal set sights on second European crown Ronaldo as hungry as ever as Portugal set sights on second European crown

    Cristiano Ronaldo will head into his record sixth European Championship as hungry as his first as he targets a dream second title with Portugal.

    The 39-year-old scored 10 goals in Euro 2024 qualifying - only Belgium's Romelu Lukaku (14) had more - as Portugal cruised to the finals.

    Ronaldo is no longer a guaranteed starter under Roberto Martinez, but he continues to show his importance for his country when called upon.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner struck twice in Tuesday's 3-0 friendly win over Republic of Ireland - his 34th brace at international level.

    And heading into what could be his final major tournament for 2016 winners Portugal, Ronaldo is relishing the chance to go out on a high.

    "For me, playing for the national team is a passion, a love," Ronaldo is quoted as saying by Record. 

    "Any game is special. A European Championship is special. It will be my sixth, which is also a record. 

    "Playing in 2004, when I made my debut, or playing today, the feeling is always one of pride and passion. It doesn't get any better than this.

    "The thought has to be [winning the tournament]. We have to be positive and take it step by step. 

    "Dreaming is free and this team has the talent to dream. Nothing can be achieved without work. We have to work and fight."

    Ronaldo has found the net for Portugal in all 21 calendar years since making his senior debut in 2004, scoring 130 goals in 270 appearances.

    The first of his double against Ireland was an unstoppable effort into the top corner, which he rates as one of his finest with his left foot.

    "I need to rewind, but with the left foot it must be at the top," he said. "The most important thing is that the team played well.

    "The objective was to win to give confidence. Whoever came on gave a good response, so I'm very happy with the result."

    Portugal have won five of their last nine meetings with managerless Republic of Ireland, losing just once and drawing three times.

    The Selecao head into their Group F opener with Czech Republic on a run of mixed form, having won three and lost two games in 2024.

    Ronaldo played no part in the 2-1 loss to Croatia last week, while his place in the starting line-up against Czech Republic is far from certain.

    However, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is happy to put the team first and respect whatever decision Martinez makes.

    "I knew I was going to rest against Croatia. I only started training on the sixth and I was preparing for today's game," he said.

    "The most important is the game on the 18th [vs Czech Republic] - we want to start the Euros in the best possible way.

    "I'm prepared in the best way. I'm 100 per cent a professional - this is my life. I dedicate myself to giving 100 per cent, not 80 or 90.

    "I'm prepared to help the country. It's about respecting the decisions - play or don't play. Those who play give a good response."

    Joao Felix was also on target in the win over Republic of Ireland - his first goal in his last five appearances for Portugal and his eighth overall.

    Martinez's men follow up their clash with Czech Republic in Leipzig with games against Turkiye and Georgia.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.