The end of an era for both player and club as Zlatan Ibrahimovic calls time on his European career and stay at Manchester United. The swede’s spell didn’t end as it began, but Zlatan’s time at United and in Europe shouldn’t be overlooked.
Manchester United confirmed that they had terminated Ibrahimovic’s contract with just 4 months to go with a move to LA Galaxy set to be his next destination. Ibrahimovic had struggled to make an impact since his return to the squad in November of 2017 from an ACL injury that kept him out of the latter half of the 16-17 campaign.
Zlatan was once the greatest centre forward in the world. He towered over defenders and dominated them with his height, physical prowess and brash attitude that struck fear in defender’s hearts.
When it was announced that Ibrahimovic would be joining Manchester United, it was just what both player and club needed. For the club, it meant an experienced forward that embodied the confidence and charisma that United so desperately needed to recapture. For the player, it was a chance to prove himself again as the world’s best by going up against the world’s best in the Premier League.
He was the figure-head forward and go to guy that thrived under the pressure. A true United talisman.
He began his time at United with the game winning goal in the 2016 Community Shield. It only got better from there as he bagged 28 goals by April of his first season with 2 in the EFL cup final against Southampton. He went on to win the Community Shield, the EFL Cup and the Europa League with Manchester United and return them to their title winning days.
Zlatan was always a goal machine. He scored 20+ in each of the years he spent in Europe for each team he played for. He was a born winner with 33 medals over his long spell in Europe. A phenomenal haul of 12 titles in 13 seasons across the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France with a total of six different clubs showed the winning mentality he helped to inject wherever he went.
Even when he came back from his ACL injury in just under 7 months, the doctors were amazed at how well constructed the ligaments and structure of his knee. They defined him as a wonderful physical specimen and even at aged 35, Zlatan was in prime physical shape. He was still scoring and dazzling defenders just like he was back when he was a young player at Ajax.
It was a difficult return for Ibrahimovic though as he never quite looked the same on his quickness, turning and finishing. It was clear that he was never going to be the same player as before.
Despite this and a dissappointing end to his United career, he soldiers on towards LA where he looks to make an impact and show the world again that he can win in every country he plays in. His courage and absolute fearless attitude is why he has succeeded and always will continue to succeed despite any obstacle.
The Lion roars on and even though he leaves Europe and United on a low, his impact and legacy will forever live on as one of the world’s greatest to play the game.
Ibrahimovic is a larger than life character with a larger than life set of skills to compete in LA and succeed. All in all, Zlatan would say that he gets the last laugh. Because Zlatan always wins, even when he loses.