Veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired AC Milan to a 2-0 victory over Bologna on Monday in its opening game of the new Serie A season.
The 38-year-old, who referred to himself as Benjamin Button on social media, defied his age once again to score a brace and help extend Milan’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 15 games.
The striker netted a trademark header in the first half before converting a penalty in the second to put the game to bed.
The Swede had the perfect opportunity to add to his tally but missed an open goal to somehow deny himself a hat-trick — smartly rounding the keeper before blazing his shot off target.
“If I was 20 years old, I’d have scored another two,” he told reporters after the game.
“I don’t want people to talk about my age, I want to be treated the same as everyone else. It doesn’t matter if I am 38, I want to be treated like someone aged 20 and do the same work.”
Ibrahimovic on form
Ibrahimovic’s performance was watched by a 1,000 spectators who were allowed into the San Siro stadium under the new regulations.
Milan, which was hit hard by the pandemic, invited the city’s healthcare workers to fill the designated seats.
Such form from the Rossoneri suggests a push for Serie A’s Champions League places is a possibility after it finished sixth last season.
On current form, Ibrahimovic — who now has 14 goals in 22 matches since rejoining Milan in 2020 — will be central to the club’s Champions League ambitions.
“They had Ibrahimovic and we didn’t,” Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic told reporters after the game. “Everything they created came from him. Apart from that, it was an even match.”
Great start for City
Manchester City also began the new Premier League season in fine form.
Pep Guardiola’s team navigated a tricky opening match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, who beat City twice in the league last season, but were worthy winners on the night.
Goals from Phil Foden and a penalty from the majestic Kevin De Bruyne put the visitors in the driving seat at halftime before Wolves began mounting a comeback.
A wonderful header from striker Raul Jimenez made for an interesting end to the game but any hopes of a draw were distinguished by Gabriel Jesus, with the Brazilian’s stoppage-time shot ricocheting into the net.
The 3-1 win means Manchester City has equaled a record for the most consecutive opening game victories in English top-flight football. Aston Villa also won 10 season openers between 1891-92 and 1900-01.