AC Milan fans are preparing for their first home Champions League match in over seven years with Spanish champions Atletico Madrid visiting the San Siro on Tuesday night.
With ageing forwards Olivier Giroud and Ibrahimovic troubled by injuries and the coronavirus since the start of the season Croatia attacker Rebic has stepped into the breach up front, shifting away from his preferred position of winger to give Milan a point around which their younger attacking talent can buzz.
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Low key performances in Milan's recent wins over Venezia and Spezia, which temporarily earned them top spot in Serie A, should not distract from the fact that Rebic has become a big game performer that the Rossoneri can rely on.
He has scored in his last three matches against Juventus and has most impressed when it matters -- such with his well-placed header at the Allianz Stadium which ensured Milan remain unbeaten in Italy.
Pioli subbed Rebic at half-time on Saturday against Spezia, saying afterwards that he was tired after featuring in every Milan match so far this season, alongside Giroud who was not fully match fit and struggled to make an impact on his return.
Milan will take to the field on Tuesday with memories of Liverpool's aggression fresh in their minds and with plenty of vibrant attacking talent ready to pounce on an Atletico team who were beaten by lowly Alaves.
Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers, who are all 22 years old, are growing into match winners but Rebic is one of those without whom Pioli can rarely do.