The waiting is over. Seven weeks after announcing his departure from Paris Saint-Germain – his contract expired on Wednesday – Zlatan Ibrahimović has announced that he is making José Mourinho’s Manchester United the next stop in his trophy-laden career.
The former Sweden captain, who retired from international football following Sweden’s exit from UEFA EURO 2016, ended widespread speculation about the move by confirming it on his official Instagram page.
Though United have yet to confirm the signing, the club’s fans will already be hoping that the 34-year-old can continue his record of finishing top of the league in all but one season since 2003 (in 2011/12 he registered 28 Serie A goals for a Milan side that came second). England would be the sixth country in which he has plied his trade.
The transfer would bring together two of the most charismatic figures in European football for the second time, Ibrahimović having led the line for Internazionale Milano in the first of Mourinho’s two terms at San Siro, 2008/09.
Ibrahimović under Mourinho
Goals: 29 (25 in Serie A, one in the UEFA Champions League, three in the Coppa Italia)
• Ibrahimović fired the Nerazzurri to the 2008/09 Scudetto, scoring a Serie A high 25 goals. At the time, that was the Malmo-born forward’s best tally for a league campaign.
• His strike against Bologna on 4 October 2008, an impudent waist-high back-heeled volley from a position outside the near post, was voted the league’s goal of the season.
Mourinho on Ibrahimović
“Ibra is a player I’ll never forget, because he’s very good. He gave a lot to my team and I never forget the players who helped my teams win. I like seeing Ibra. I greet him whenever I get the chance and I wish him all the best – except when he plays against me.”
2 April 2014
Ibrahimović on Mourinho
“José Mourinho is a big star. The first time he met my partner Helena, he whispered to her, ‘Helena, you have only one mission: feed Zlatan, let him sleep, keep him happy.'”
“That guy says whatever he wants. I like him. He’s the leader of his army. But he cares too. He would text me all the time at Inter, wondering how I was doing.”
“No matter how happy I was in going to Barça [in summer 2009], it was sad to leave Mourinho. That guy is special.”
All excerpts taken from Ibrahimović’s autobiography, I am Zlatan Ibrahimović