AC Milan's Zlatan Ibahimovic sits on the bench prior to the start of their Serie A match against Sampdoria at the San Siro stadium in Milan on Monday. Photo: Antonio Calanni/AP

MILAN – Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return failed to inspire AC Milan as the fallen giants were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Sampdoria in the Serie A on Monday, failing to score for the third league game in a row.

The charismatic 38-year-old Swede was brought on to a rousing reception from the San Siro crowd in the 55th minute but Milan could still not find a way past their lowly opponents.

In his previous stint at the club, Ibrahimovic helped Milan win Serie A in 2010-11, their last major trophy. He left for Paris St Germain at the end of the following season.

Milan also drew their previous home game 0-0, against Sassuolo, and Monday's result left them a miserable 12th in the Serie A standings, below Hellas Verona on goal difference.

In between, Milan were thrashed 5-0 by Atalanta, who on Monday beat Parma by the same scoreline with Josip Ilicic scoring twice to close in on the top four.

Reuters