Mario Mandzukic signed with AC Milan
After a couple of days of speculation, the transfer was made official by AC Milan, who confirmed the signing of the Croatian striker, aged 34. Milan seems to have this thing with older players, considering their ace Ibrahimovic is 39 but he’s pretty much in the charts for becoming this season’s Serie A Golden Boot despite his age, having scored 12 league goals so far. The strategy seems to be working in a rather splendid manner, given the fact that Milan’s leader in Serie A by now, with 43 points. In a season in which Juventus, with Cristiano Ronaldo (Mandzukic’s former teammate) himself, is struggling on 4th place, 10 points short of the current league leaders, having just recently suffered a defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals Inter Milan, 0-2. Obviously Mandzukic will bring some quality to a Milan squad who is expected to struggle to live up to the expectations of a rather splendid first half of the championship. The Croatian signed a 6 months contract, until the end of the season, with the possibility of extending the deal shall Milan finish in top 4 (which would grant them a place in the UEFA Champions League after years of absence from the competition).
This also marks Mandzukic’s return to Europe, the Croatian having played for Qatari side Al-Duhail following his departure from Juventus last year. Having played is a lot to be said, since he only appeared in 7 official matches for the Qatari side, and became a free agent last summer, after not even 6 months in Qatar. Mandzukic certainly has a lot of experience, having played for teams like Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and lastly Juventus. He spent 4 years at Juve, from 2015 to 2019, until his departure to Qatar. Mandzukic has quite the record, having won the UEFA Champions League and two Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich in 2013 (two German Cups, a German Supercup, 1 UEFA Supercup and 1 FIFA Club World Cup title), the Spanish Supercup with Atletico in 2014, 4 Serie A titles and 3 Italian Cups with Juventus, 3 Croatian championships with Dinamo Zagreb and 1 Qatari championship with Al-Duhail. He came close to becoming Bundesliga goalscorer in 2014, when he netted 18 league goals, two short of his rival Robert Lewandowski, who replaced him at Bayern afterwards.
“I’m satisfied, it’s an extra weapon. The club has become ambitious again, and Mandzukic’s arrival is in this direction. There can be a lot of injured or positive, so we need a lot of players.”, Pioli declared about the Croatian’s transfer. “When the club proposed Mandzukic to me, I immediately said yes, because he is a winner who will bring us solutions”, Pioli added, also noting that it would take time for the ex Bayern and Juve striker to come to a good physical form. And he’ll prolly be Ibrahimovic’s sub.