When Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffered a nasty-looking season-ending knee injury in April, and Manchester United declined to extend his contract in June, it seemed like it was finally time for the 35-year-old star to make his long-rumored move to MLS. LA Galaxy? New York Red Bulls? Nope.
Manchester United announced today that Zlatan is back at Old Trafford on another one-year deal. Last summer, the club signed him to a one-year deal and he went on to score 38 goals across all competitions, including 17 in the Premier League. With Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, and Romelu Lukaku on the squad, Zlatan will add depth to an already stacked attack and, hopefully, find enough minutes to do some more of this.
Ibrahimovic said he won’t come back until he’s 100 percent, which may not be until December, according to reports. The striker told ESPN:
“I cannot wait to get back out on that Old Trafford pitch, but I also know that I have to take my time to make sure that I am ready. I have been working hard and will continue to do so to make sure I am in the best possible condition for my return to the pitch.”
He also said, “I am back to finish what I started. It was always mine and the club’s intention for me to stay.” The club released him in June and he underwent knee surgery in the U.S. Whether it was always the plan for him to return, or if that’s some cheery PR spin, his new contract is likely far more amenable to the club. As Ibrahimovic told ESPN, “Everyobody is happy like this and I am super happy, so happiness has no value. So this year I play for free, just like last year.”
Has this news been too boring for you? Is it possible that one of the best, cockiest soccer players in history has lost a step in the swag department after agreeing to come back to Man United on a bargain deal so that he can spend a lot of time sitting on the bench? Of course not! Ibra is still Ibra: