A month or so ago, it was for the first time really indicated that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will leave Manchester United. It was when numerous media reported that Los Angeles FC – the latest MLS franchise that is about to start its life in North American football – were keen on getting Ibrahimovic before the season in United States and Canada starts.
That is, obviously, not going to happen, as the season in MLS kicks off on Saturday, but since then this conversation of the big Swede leaving was more and more brought up in the media. And on this Friday, it was the first time that Jose Mourinho indicated that Ibrahimovic will leave in summer.
What Did Mourinho Say?
“Zlatan – we all think it’s his last season at Manchester United and will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop,” Mourinho said in his usual press conference.
“He has earned the right of choosing his life, his future – he is such an amazing player and had such an amazing career that only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons he could and should have with us.
“This season is really difficult for him – he’s not injured. Does he feel totally happy, ready and convinced he’s in condition to help the team? No. But he’s such an honest guy and such a champion he only wants to be back with that feeling of: ‘I’m totally ready for it.’ So he’s working hard and hopefully his evolution brings him to that level – he wants to have a positive answer.”
These words from Mourinho are really indicative of the situation. Zlatan is not happy for not being completely ready, but that is not too big of a surprise. Simply put, he had a serious injury in 2017 and at 36, he is not getting any younger. This move will then make sense for both sides.
There is a big question now in line for Zlatan. He will either say it was enough and hang his boots, or he will find another club where he will probably end his career. The biggest reason why Ibrahimovic probably will not finish his playing days in summer is because he could definitely offer quality to some smaller club and because he probably does not want this kind of ending.
As big of a character as he is, Ibrahimovic will be eager to go with a bang, to do something meaningful for one more time before he says it was enough. Another reason could be that there will be plenty of suitors in summer. A professional guy like him will easily find new club. Whether that will be in LAFC and MLS, or in some other growing league, it is yet to be seen. LAFC can offer the glamour of a huge city and Zlatan would be one of the league’s most famous players. He seems to thrive in those circumstances.
As for Manchester United, they have been thinking about new solutions anyway and now that he will leave Old Trafford, there will be a big whole in the dressing room behind Ibrahimovic. His personality has been very useful.