"I won't quit until I have won something with this Milan side."
Is Ibrahimovic's Serie A win at AC Milan worthier than Ronaldo's title with Juventus?
The Swede finally lived up to his word as the Rossoneri won their first league title in over a decade.
In February 2022, the quote above was Zlatan Ibrahimovic's answer after he was asked about a potential retirement. At that time, Milan were involved in a title race, but city rival Inter Milan were the favourites.
Milan had missed out on the title to Inter last season after leading the table for some parts of the campaign. It looked like history would repeat itself after Stefano Pioli's men lost their grip at the top of the table.
However, three months later, Milan won six straight games to win their first Serie A title in 11 years. Although his fitness did not allow him to play a major role, Milan's title win means Ibrahimovic has lived up to his word.
The Swede's title success with the Rossoneri has drawn up comparison with Cristiano Ronaldo's success with Juventus. But which Scuttedo win was worthier?
Was Cristiano Ronaldo's time at Juventus a success?
When Ronaldo joined Juventus in 2019, the Portuguese star claimed he was looking for a new challenge, having won three successive Champions League titles with Real Madrid and two La Liga titles.
However, Ibrahimovic was far from impressed, saying Ronaldo joining Juventus was not a challenge.
''Ronaldo talks about challenges, but he decided to go to a club who have been winning the Serie A title with their eyes closed,'' Ibrahimovic said.
'Why did he not choose a club from a second division a few years ago? Try to become a champion with such a second-division [club] and lead them to the highest level.
'Moving to Juventus is not a challenge at all.'
In fairness, Ibrahimovic was right to claim Ronaldo's move to Juventus was not a challenge. Before Ronaldo joined Juventus, the Old Lady had won the previous seven Serie A titles without him.
When Ronaldo joined the club, Juventus were heads and shoulders above other teams in Italy. Their dominance mirrored that of Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga.
Although Ronaldo did make Juventus better, they would still have won the two league titles he won with them without his services.
However, this is not to downplay Ronaldo's impact at Juventus. In his first season, he scored 21 league goals in 31 appearances.
In his second season, he scored 31 league goals in 33 appearances, although 12 were from the penalty spot. Ronaldo then scored 29 goals in 33 league games in his final season for Juventus.
However, while he put up impressive numbers during his time at the club, there was still a feeling that it could have been more. Juventus brought in Ronaldo to help them win the Champions League and not the Serie A title. However, the Portuguese star could not help the Old Lady overcome the challenge.
During his time at the club, Juventus' best run in the Champions League was a quarter-final finish.
With all these factors put into account, Ronaldo joining Juventus was not much of a challenge, although he enjoyed individual success.
What about Ibrahimovic's second coming at AC Milan?
In contrast, when Ibrahimovic arrived in Milan in January 2020, the Rossoneri had not competed for the Serie A title for a long time.
In fact, they had not qualified for the Champions League since 2013. However, Ibrahimovic's arrival turned everything around for Milan.
While Ibrahimovic may not have had the same individual success as Ronaldo, he still put up good numbers despite his injury problems.
In his first year, which was half of the season, Ibrahimovic scored ten goals and recorded five assists in 18 games. The Swede turned it up in his first full season, scoring 15 goals in 19 league games. His goals ensured Milan reached the Champions League for the first time in seven years.
Ibrahimovic did not play too much this season due to injuries, but he still managed to score eight goals and three assists in 28 league games for the club.
It is not just his work on the pitch that made Ibrahimovic key to Milan's success. He was also influential off the pitch. The 40-year-old instilled a winning mentality and served as a mentor for the young Milan team.
Before the crucial win at Hellas Verona, Ibrahimovic told his teammates about the importance of the Serie A title for Milan.
"Everyone remembers the Milan players who won the Scudetto or the Champions League, so if we want to be remembered, we’ve got three games to do it," Ibrahimovic said.
He may not have played as much as he would have loved, but his arrival galvanised Milan to achieve what they did. (Watch video below)
He rejoined Milan at a time the Rossoneri were struggling, but he has helped them win a Serie A title for the first time since he last won it with the team in 2011.
As a result, his Scudetto title is more commendable than what Ronaldo did with Juventus.