Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been compared to AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic by his ex-team-mate Youri Mulder after returning to Schalke for the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign.
The 37-year-old will now be tasked with helping the German club stave off the threat of relegation, and could be in line to make his debut when they host Cologne on Wednesday night.
Schalke also had Huntelaar on their books between 2010 and 2017, during which time he hit 126 goals in 240 appearances, becoming the second-highest goalscorer in the club’s history.
The Netherlands international has re-traced his steps after four years at Ajaxwhere he took his overall career tally to 364 goals, with seven of those efforts coming in the first half of the 2020-21 campaign.
Huntelaar has provedhe can still deliver the goods in the final third despite his advancing years, much like Ibrahimovic has since making his way back to Milan in January 2019.
Mulder, who played alongside the Dutchman during his first spell at Vetlins-Arena, thinks his old colleague is in equally good shape as the veteran Swedish forward after tracking his progress closely in the Eredivisie.
“Besides the minor calf injury that was last bothering him, he has looked very fit lately,” the former Schalke frontman told Goal and SPOX . “He almost looked like Zlatan Ibrahimovic! Very well trained, extremely ambitious, appeared in the games with an incredible will and above all he looked as fit as a sneaker.
“Physically I don’t see any problems with him.”
Asked if Huntelaar can help Schalke beat the drop come May, Mulder responded:”Yes, I think so. Any help can currently be used. If you look at statistics, Schalke is much better in terms of goal opportunities than goals scored. This shows that they have a need in attack.
“I’ve seen Huntelaar many times over the past year and he scored very well. Seven goals in 383 minutes speak for themselves. Of course, it’s a weaker league, but he knows the Bundesliga very well and his goal risk is still undisputed.
“In Holland, people are wondering what he wants at Schalke because he is the type of player who is strongest around the box and Schalke focus on the defensive, but these people also don’t understand what it means for a Schalke heart to help Schalke.”
Schalke are rock bottom of the Bundesliga standings and seven points adrift of safet, but Christian Gross still still has 18 fixtures left to turn his side’s fortunes around.
Mulder thinks Huntelaar has returned toGelsenkirchen because of his love for the club rather than personal gain, with the striker swapping a simpler life at Ajax for a tough and potentially heartbreaking second stint with the Royal Blues.
“For me, that is the most beautiful thing. He doesn’t do it for himself, perhaps to make himself immortal. He’s only doing it to help keep Schalke from relegating,” he added. “I can also identify very well with this club love. If your former club is facing such problems, one will be happy to help.
Source : goal.com