Carrying a cigar and a magnum of champagne, Zlatan Ibrahimović walked out of the tunnel after winning the Serie A title. To raucous applause, he sprayed champagne on fans in the stands, smoked his cigar, waved to the crowds and then joined his teammates on the podium.
The title completed Ibrahimović’s triumphant return to AC Milan two years after he re-joined his former club and 11 years after he guided the Rossoneri to their last Scudetto.
“It’s my greatest satisfaction. When I returned, at the press conference, I said that I would bring Milan back to the top,” he said to DAZN after the game.
“Many were laughing and now we are here, and we won the Scudetto. We made many sacrifices, but nothing is impossible. I have suffered a lot this year.”
Milan defeated Sassuolo 3-0 on Sunday to win their first Serie A title since 2011. It entered the game needing at least one point to finish above its arch-rival Internazionale and eventually finished the season on 86 points – two points clear of the Nerazzuri.
Olivier Giroud’s brace in the first half followed by a Franck Kessie goal in the second sealed the victory and the title for the club.
Ibrahimović dedicated the win to his former agent Mino Raiola, who died aged 54 in April.
“I was close to [signing for] Napoli, then he told me that I was the only one who could save Milan. So I dedicate it to him,” Ibrahimović said.
At 40 years old and increasingly plagued by injuries, the future for the big Swede seems uncertain.
“I will make a decision over the next few days,” he said, according to Goal. “I had a really tough time lately, it was bad both physically, but also for other personal matters. At the end of the day, I did everything I could to help Milan win this trophy.
“I was afraid that I might have to quit, but I want to do it my way.”
With the victory, the Rossoneri became Italian champions for the 19th time in club history and go level with Inter for second-most titles in league history, behind Juventus’ 36.
It marked a remarkable turnaround – driven by Ibrahimović, coach Stefano Pioli and technical director Paolo Maldini – for a club in disarray only three years ago as poor performances on the pitch and financial problems off it left the Rossoneri lagging behind their title rivals.
After enduring this turmoil, the final whistle sparked scenes of jubilant celebration from traveling Milan fans and players on the pitch at the Mapei Stadium, with Ibrahimović, as usual, the star of the show.