Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his Premier League debut on Sunday afternoon while playing for Manchester United and instantly endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful with a rather stunning goal.
Zlatan’s goal was United’s third, and what ultimately proved to be their final goal of their match against Bournemouth as the club ran out rather comfortable winners in the contest.
After watching such an imperious display from the Swede, Mourinho admitted that he found it had to be believed that Zlatan had never won the Ballon d’Or or FIFA World Player Of The Year throughout his career. Sadly for Zlatan, too, at 34-years-old it’s severely unlikely that he’ll ever actually win it, too.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho praises striker – BBC Sport https://t.co/thclaiSIkm
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“The Golden Ball was there but it was always going to two guys with a better political entourage. It’s incredible how this man never won the Golden Ball. But at this moment in his career, he wants to win the Premier League, not the Golden Ball,” Mourinho explained to the BBC.
Of course, there are two very good reasons why Zlatan Ibrahimovic has never won these prestigious trophies. Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have held a monopoly over the accolades in recent years, winning the last eight of them between them, with Messi currently having won five and Ronaldo having won three.
But the more and more you look at Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s achievements, the more it’s staggering that he himself has never challenged the pair for these accolades, as he’s won 13 league titles in 15 seasons while playing for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain, while during this period he has performed staggering feats with the ball at his feet that have been roundly marvelled by football fans across the world.
Because of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s impressive form and statuesque appearance, it was hardly surprising when Jose Mourinho sought to purchase the Swede from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in the summer. Mourinho and Ibrahimovic previously worked together at Inter Milan.
Now, in just two competitive starts for Manchester United, Ibrahimovic has already begun to repay Mourinho’s faith in him. Not only did he score the winning goal for the Red Devils during their Community Shield contest with Leicester City last Sunday, stooping in to score a header when the game looked to be heading to penalties, but he’s now added a scintillating strike in their first Premier League game of the season, too.
But, for Mourinho, his reason for purchasing Ibrahimovic stretches beyond mere goals. Speaking in the post-match press conference following United’s victory over Bournemouth, Mourinho spoke about just how influential Ibrahimovic has been to the younger players at Manchester United during his admittedly brief spell at the club so far.
“Look, the first thing I can tell you is that, at his table for breakfast and for meals, he is surrounded by the young ones, the kids. Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford — these are the guys who are with him at the table. He knows what he can be for them,” Mourinho explained.
“But, for the team, you have to forget the passport, that he is 34 years old. The body and mentality are not those of a 34-year-old guy. He’s at the top of his qualities.”
1 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now scored on his PL, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Champions League debut. Glorious. pic.twitter.com/fI1l4FfDCI
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 14, 2016
Despite the world record-breaking arrival of Paul Pogba at United earlier this summer, where he signed for £89 million, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to be the key figure at Old Trafford in the coming weeks and months as Manchester United aim to win their first Premier League trophy in three seasons.
[Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images]