Mario Mandzukic says he is ready to return to top-level football with AC Milan – and he will play any position on the pitch if it helps the team win.
Mandzukic had been without a club since leaving Qatari side Al-Duhail in July, but the Croatian says he has been working hard on his fitness in the meantime and feels ready to make an impact.
“If I didn’t feel ready I wouldn’t come to a club like Milan. I would have stayed at home watching TV,” Mandzukic told a press conference.
“The last months I was working hard and waiting for something like this. I’ve never had big injuries. I prepared my body for four more years of top football.
“You can trust me, I’m good. I told Milan manager Stefano Pioli, ‘If you need me, I will play every position on the pitch to win’.
“Everyone knows the history of Milan and the successes that this club has had. I have big ambitions now the team is doing very well, but the season is still long.”
Mandzukic’s arrival has been greeted with enthusiasm by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who quipped:”There will be two of us to scare the opponents now!”
The new man will be expected to provide competition for Ibrahimovic in attack, and allow the 39-year-old’s playing time to be managed more effectively in the second half of the season.
Having played in Croatia, Germany, Spain, Italy and Qatar, as well as making 89 appearances for his country and reaching the World Cup final, Mandzukic will also add experience to a youthful Milan squad.
Ibrahimovic has revelled in the role of mentor to his young team-mates since returning to the club last January, and Mandzukic has been impressed with their performances.
“It’s true that it’s a very young team but I watched Milan’s last games and I was happy to see how the team is playing,” he said.
“Everyone is fighting, everyone is doing his job, everyone is running, everyone shows team spirit. We older players will be there for the younger.
“As Zlatan said, we have played many games, we have many minutes in our legs and I too think it is important to instil fear in our opponents and protect my team-mates.”
Source : goal.com