Thursday Feb 18, 2021. 16:00
Milan’s Algerian international Ismael Bennacer has credited veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic with inspiring a new generation of talent at the Italian club.
The Rossoneri have defied expectations to be one of the title challengers in Serie A this season, as they scrap with reigning champions Juventus and arch rivals Internazionale to claim the Scudetto.
A key man in their drive toward glory is Swedish legend Ibrahimovic, who at 39 years of age remains a potent force both on and off the field.
Bennacer, himself a key figure in the engine room alongside fellow African Franck Kessie of Ivory Coast, believes that Ibrahimovic’s presence pushes up-and-coming players to fulfil their potential.
“Zlatan rarely holds back when he has to push his young Milan teammates,” Bennacer told French agency AFP, as quoted by Football Italia.
“Even if we sometimes see him screaming on the pitch, it’s better than if he doesn’t say anything. Then it would mean he doesn’t care what we’re doing right now. He brings us a lot, with all the experience he has, he tries to take us to the highest level.
“He gives us a lot of advice. Ibrahimovic has become a standard bearer of a new generation of young talents.”
The Fennec Foxes midfielder is determined to help Milan return to the pinnacle of Italian football, with their last league title arriving back in 2010-11.
“If we don’t do something this year, everything we have done before, from March  and onwards, will be forgotten,” he said.
“We must, for ourselves, try to make Milan the great club it was. Also because it’s boring for the fans that we play behind closed doors.
“They are not there physically, but they follow us. We must give everything for them too.”