I wouldn't be at Milan if I wasn't fit and ready says Mandzukic

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus v Empoli - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - March 30, 2019 Juventus' Mario Mandzukic in action with Empoli's Christian Dell'Orco REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

MILAN (Reuters) - AC Milan's new striker Mario Mandzukic says there should be no concerns about his physical condition despite the 34-year-old returning to Serie A after six months without a club.

The Croatia striker joined as a free agent on Tuesday on a six-month deal, with the option of a further year.

Mandzukic left Italian champions Juventus in January 2020 for Al-Duhail, but his contract with the Qatari side was terminated by mutual consent in July.

He has not played a competitive game since March last year, but the forward insists he is ready for action.

“I’ve trained hard for the last few months,” he told a media conference. “If I didn’t feel ready, I wouldn’t have accepted to come to a big club like Milan.

“Obviously I’ll need a few days to get to know my team-mates, but I’m ready to make my contribution when the coach (Stefano Pioli) calls on me.

“I feel good, over the last few months I’ve worked a lot, physically I’m absolutely ready to return to the pitch. Don’t worry, I’m good. I’m in shape.”

Mandzukic won four Serie A titles at Juve and joins a Milan side that stand three points clear at the top of the table and are aiming to end a 10-year wait to be champions again.

“There’s still a long way to go until the end of the season,” said Mandzukic.

“If we look at how the last few matches went, where everyone fought to win, it’ll be easier to win the title.

“(Facing Juventus) will be like all the other games. On the pitch we are rivals, but off it we’re still friends.

“I hope to see the fans back in the stadium soon. I always had a good relationship with the Juventus fans. I will always respect them, but now I will fight for Milan and their supporters.”

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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