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Bayern Munich are third … Milan is the most developed club in Europe, despite Ibrahimovic’s absence


Despite the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to injury, Milan kept their impressive start to the season and developed more than any other team in Europe last year, according to Nielsen’s Gracenot statistics.

Milan, the Italian league leaders and the only team that has not lost in the five major European domestic leagues, England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France will host Juventus, the defending champion on Wednesday, as the team seeks to make an important step towards its 19th league title, and the first in a decade.

According to Gracenot data, Milan is the only team in Europe whose index among European clubs rose by more than 500 points last year, meaning that the 7-time European champion jumped from the 47th place among the best European teams one year ago to the 20th place.

Norway’s Bodo-Glimt was the second most advanced club in Europe, while Bayern Munich, the European champions, finished third, moving from fourth place in the overall standings.

“The European Club Index is an objective classification of European football clubs, which informs us of the best clubs, the most developed, the fastest relegators and drawdowns, and a whole host of other things without bias,” said Simon Gliff, head of sports analysis at Gracenote.

“The results of Milan, Bodo-Glimt and Bayern Munich over the past year have made these clubs the most advanced in Europe,” he added.

The absence of Zlatan is not a crisis
Many have questioned whether Ibrahimovic, 39, can shine in the last part of his career, but his goals were crucial to Milan’s brilliant start to the late-start season.

The veteran Swedish scored a double in Milan’s dramatic 2-1 victory over rivals Inter Milan in mid-October, as well as his second late goal that gave Milan the victory over Udinese two weeks later.

A late equalizer against Verona seven days later kept Milan’s career unbeaten, while another double helped Milan’s 3-1 away victory over Napoli, their title rivals, on November 22.

However, despite Ibrahimovic’s absence from Milan due to a thigh injury and without his participation, many expected Milan’s wheels to stop turning. But in recent weeks many have shined in his position.

In total, 4 Milan players have scored 4 or more goals in the league this season, namely Ibrahimovic, Teo Hernandez, Raphael Leao and Frank Casey, a common record among the top 5 European domestic leagues this season.

Five league wins and two draws during Ibrahimovic’s absence contributed to Milan’s lead in the league, one point ahead of Inter and 10 points ahead of Juventus, who finished fifth before tomorrow’s match.

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