Manchester United on Thursday beheld the absurd misfortune of two of their players suffering cruciate knee ligament injuries against Anderlecht in the Europa League. Marcos Rojo had to be stretchered off in the first-half, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was unable to continue in extra time having landed awkwardly on his knee. Following scans, Manchester United yesterday confirmed that both players had suffered "significant" ligament damage, and refused to put a timescale on their respective returns.
Reports in this morning's papers, however, claim that such is the extent of the damage to Ibrahimovic's knee, the 35-year-old will be forced to retire from football altogether. The report is in this morning's Sunday Times, and is by Duncan Castles, a journalist who is known to be close to Mourinho.
Here's the relevant line:
Sources close to manager Jose Mourinho have indicated that the physical damage raises fears that the 35-year-old will have to retire from all football.
Ibrahimovic is out of contract at United in the summer, but it had been assumed that United were eager to extend the deal for at least a year, such has been his form: he is United's top scorer with 28 goals. Even if the knee injury does not end his career, it is difficult to imagine Ibrahimovic staying at United from here: his wages are in the region of £250,000 a week, and this knee injury will keep him out of at least half of next season.
[The Sunday Times]