Soccer-No ill-effects from international return for Ibrahimovic - Pioli

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Serie A - AC Milan v Torino

(Reuters) - AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned from his international comeback with Sweden fit and healthy and is available to face Sampdoria in Serie A on Saturday, coach Stefano Pioli said.

Ibrahimovic came out of international retirement to compete for Sweden for the first time in five years last week, making an assist in each of his two starts for his country in World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo.

Milan's top goalscorer this season with 15 Serie A goals, Ibrahimovic had only just returned from injury before the international break, but Pioli said the busy schedule has not affected the 39-year-old.

"He's fine, we are happy both for the national team and for him being back here with us," Pioli told a news conference on Friday.

"Ibra tired? I did not find him tired, the training was at excellent levels. He came back energized and everything is fine."

Milan are second in the Serie A standings ahead of the resumption of domestic action, six points behind leaders Inter Milan having played one game more.

Pioli has been keen to emphasise the club's target is not to challenge for the title this campaign but to secure a top-four finish and Champions League football for next season and has called on his players to get the job done in the coming months.

"Milan are one of the surprises of the league, because we have 17 points more than last year (at the same stage of the season)," Pioli added.

"Seventy-five points could be the right threshold to finish in the top four but it is difficult to calculate, there are many direct clashes, very tough matches.

"We believe in what we do. We just have to show we can do it until the very end. Ten games left are a lot."

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Toby Davis)