MX23RW : Friday, February 22 06:58:46

Ibrahimovic: Manchester United made me feel like Benjamin Button

Ibrahimovic: Manchester United made me feel like Benjamin Button
© Reuters
The veteran Sweden forward made a high-profile free agent switch to Old Trafford in July 2016.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed everyone told him not to risk his reputation by playing in England and how a successful spell at Manchester United made him feel young again – "like Benjamin Button".

The 37-year-old Sweden forward made a high-profile free agent switch to Old Trafford in July 2016 after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, initially on a one-season contract.

Ibrahimovic produced a major impact with the Red Devils, scoring twice to help Jose Mourinho's side win the 2017 EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley, before then suffering a serious knee injury during the Europa League quarter-final with Anderlecht.

The veteran frontman, though, recovered full fitness and signed a contract extension, but eventually left United to join Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy during March 2018.

In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC 5 Live Football Daily podcast, Ibrahimovic recalled the advice he had received when the much-travelled former Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona, PSG, Inter and AC Milan forward was contemplating life in the Premier League.

"When I went to England I was talking to different players that I knew well and trusted that would give me an honest opinion. From all of them everyone said 'do not do it' – they said it would not be good for my career because you put your whole career on one season," Ibrahimovic said.

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the EFL Cup trophy. (PA)
Ibrahimovic scored twice to help United win the 2017 EFL Cup final at Wembley. (Nick Potts/PA Images)

"If you do not do a good season, people will say the rest of the things you did before were useless because you didn't make it in England, but that triggered me and that's the challenge I wanted."

Ibrahimovic added: "I went against everyone and said that's what I wanted to do. They thought I was too old, I was 35 and I made the Premier League look old.

"It took me three months to convince everyone who I was. That was the challenge and I never turn down a challenge."

Ibrahimovic said he had felt "unbreakable.. like Superman" before suffering his serious knee injury, and wanted to be able to give United "the Zlatan that you are used to" before making a comeback.

"That first year at United we had a fantastic year. They made me feel like Benjamin Button. I was getting younger and younger, then unfortunately I got my injury," he said.

"I came to the right club in United. It was the club and the shirt that I was supposed to shine in and I did it."

– BBC Radio 5 Live's full interview with Zlatan Ibrahimović can be heard in Zlatan is Football Daily, available now on BBC Sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06sfl5f


Click here for more stories about Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Click here for more stories about Manchester United

Share this article now:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action for LA Galaxy on September 30, 2018
Read Next:
Ibrahimovic rules out Man Utd return
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account