Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic vows to 'come back even stronger'

Telegraph Sport
Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he will decide when his playing career is over, nothing else - Carl Recine

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has vowed to "come back even stronger" from his cruciate knee ligament injury and insisted it will not signal the end of his playing career.

The Manchester United striker, 35, is facing between six and nine months on the sidelines but has no intention of retiring.

"I will go through this like everything else and come back even stronger. So far I played with one leg so it shouldn't be any problem," the Swede said in a post on his Instagram account on Sunday evening. "One thing is for sure, I decide when it's time to stop and nothing else. Giving up is not an option. See you soon."

Earlier on Sunday Jose Mourinho, the United manager, who is also without defender Marcos Rojo who sustained a similar injury to Ibrahimovic during Thursday's Europa League defeat of Anderlecht, had acknowledged Ibrahimovic faced a difficult road to recovery given his age but stressed he is focused on that rehabilitation rather than thoughts about whether he would ever play again.

Mourinho conceded Ibrahimovic's circumstances made the injury "really hard", but was reluctant to discuss how it would impact him going forward, either at Old Trafford or in the game itself. "The injuries are really big," he told Sky Sports prior to the win over Burnley.

Ibrahimovic sustained the injury during United's Europa League defeat of Anderlecht Credit: Getty Images

"No player deserves to be injured, but in these two cases are even more sad.

"Zlatan, in this phase of his career, it is really hard and Marcos was in the best moment of his career, playing very well for us and finally getting a position as a central defender in the national team. It's really sad for them.

"I know (how long they will be out for) but it is for the medical department to be more specific and they prefer to wait a couple more days because the players want to see other specialists and to have an extra opinion and we have to respect that. But they are important injuries."

Zlatan

Asked whether Ibrahimovic would play again, the Portuguese replied: "I don't care about it in this moment, I just want the player to recover the best he can.

"I'm not thinking about it. I'm not sad for the team  the impact not to have them can affect the team in terms of results and ambitions, I don't care about it, I just think about them."

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