Ex-Man United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic banishes player Jurgen Klopp branded 'Liverpool legend'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Liverpool icon Divock Origi has been banished from AC Milan's first team by former Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Origi, who joined Milan from Liverpool in 2022, left an indelible mark on the club, having netted a number of crucial goals including in the Champions League final as well as during the unforgettable comeback against Barcelona. Former Reds boss Jurgen Klopp once hailed him as a Liverpool legend, and given how his stint in the Italian capital has gone thus far, the Belgian probably wishes he'd never left.

He now finds himself forcibly sidelined at Milan - a decision publicly affirmed by Ibrahimovic, who is serving in a consultancy role at the club. Speaking to the Italian press, the Swede said: "Divock Origi and Fode Ballo-Toure are not part of our plans. They will be part of the Youth team as they're not included in our project."

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Origi had a disappointing first season at the San Siro, scoring just twice in 36 appearances. He spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest, but fared just as poorly, netting one goal in 22 games.

Now it looks as if he'll need to find a new club, with Ibrahimovic all but confirming that new manager Paulo Fonseca has no plans to use him next season. Origi, who is under contract at Milan until 2026, spent seven years at Liverpool and scored 41 goals in 175 matches.

He was mostly used as an impact sub and developed a knack for netting vital goals in the dying embers. Speaking after his exit in 2022, Klopp said: "He is, and will be for me, forever a Liverpool legend - one of the most important players I ever had. That sounds completely strange with the amount of games he had, but it is, and was, a pure joy to work together with him.

"Everybody in the team loves him because he was just a relaxed guy and a really lovable guy. I remember so many things when I think about Div that's incredible; the important goals, the injuries... bad injuries, and all these kinds of things - all the ups and downs. He is a Liverpool legend, no doubt."

Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, spent 18 months at Old Trafford. He arrived in 2016 from PSG, coinciding with the appointment of Jose Mourinho, who managed him at Inter Milan.

He scored 28 goals in his first season, but in the summer of 2017, United splashed the cash on his long-term replacement, Romelu Lukaku. Initially, there were plans to keep Ibrahimovic in the fold, but an ill-timed injury kept him out for most of the first half of the campaign, and in January 2018, he sealed a move to LA Galaxy.

The goal machine returned to Milan in 2020 and hung up his boots last year after a trophy-laden 24-year career.