Zlatan Ibrahimovic has today opened up on former club Manchester United during an interview with ESPN, discussing the FA Cup hopes of the Red Devils and manager Jose Mourinho, before revealing his feelings regarding a return to the Swedish national team for this summer’s World Cup.
Ibrahimovic, who of course arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2016 in a high-profile free agent switch from Paris Saint-Germain, enjoyed an excellent start to his career with United, racking up 22 goals and 8 assists between the Premier League and Champions League during his debut campaign, before an ACL injury suffered in April ruled the big Swede out of action until November of last year.
And Ibra subsequently failed to rediscover either full form or fitness, managing just 2 starts and 5 substitute appearances across all competitions for United this season, with his last outing in a Red Devils’ jersey having come on December 26th versus Burnley.
As such, rumours quickly spread in the media over recent months that the former Juventus, Barcelona and AC Milan man was set for a swift departure from English football.
And his exit from Old Trafford was finally confirmed two weeks ago, when the veteran hitman terminated his contract with United to join MLS outfit LA Galaxy.
‘Need to win’
Speaking in an in-depth interview with ESPN FC earlier today, Ibrahimovic was questioned on his time in Manchester, with former manager Jose Mourinho first on the agenda:
‘I like Mourinho. He is the Special One. He likes to win. Wherever he went he won. He made me feel comfortable. He gave me a lot of responsibility. He said to me the only problem he had with me was when could he rest me.’
On his former club’s hopes for the remainder of the campaign, Ibra explained:
‘They’ve been doing it good. Let’s hope, there’s one last trophy to play for, and that’s the FA Cup. So hopefully they win it. Last year we had a big success with the three trophies. With a new team like that — new coach, couple of new players — and hopefully that rings on, because as a top team, like United, you need to keep winning, because that is the status of the club. You need to win. And if you’re not winning, you’re not belonging to the top.’
‘Everybody wants to play in the World Cup’
Finally, when questioned on the chances that he could come out of international retirement to line out for Sweden one last time at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, Ibrahimovic revealed:
‘I mean, today I just want to play football. I just want to feel good, play. And the other day I played 20 minutes, I think, and I’ve been training. I want to settle in, feel comfortable and do what I’m good at — feel free in my game. So to think about the national team is a next step, but I don’t think we’re there yet. It’s all about how I feel and what I want. To worry about football, we should not. We should worry about what I want.’
‘Everybody wants to play in the World Cup. I was super happy [for Sweden] because there’s been a lot of talks — if I’m not there, what will happen? Normal kind of talks. When they succeed, I was the happiest, because you want to see your country play in the best scene in the world, and that’s World Cup. So you just want to see them succeed. That is what I represented, and I want the other players to take it further and make it even better. So I’m just super positive and happy for them.’