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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Put Jose Mourinho First In Decision To Leave United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Put Jose Mourinho First In Decision To Leave United
By Arthur James O'Dea Updated

Having cut his Manchester United stint short to pursue a move to LA Galaxy in March, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has rarely found himself short of opportunities to share his thoughts on the goings-on back in Europe.

Speaking to the BBC of his decision to leave United for America's west coast, the ostentatious Swede took even himself by surprise with his humility in the face of adversity.

Enjoying a stellar opening to his Manchester United career, the former Paris St. Germain, AC Milan and Juventus man scored 28 goals en route to club success in both the Europa League and the League Cup.

However, it was in the semi-final of United's run to Europa League success that Ibrahimovic ultimately came undone. Suffering a horrific knee-injury just shy of his 35th birthday, his time would ultimately run out at United before he could properly recover.

Released by the club, before being re-signed again before the beginning of the 2017/18 season, he would only make 7 further appearances, without much distinction.

Recalling this arduous time, Ibrahimovic spoke unflinchingly:

The situation was not about having a contract and earning money. It was all the opposite. I said [to United] that I don't want a salary, you keep it.

Having publicly declared his confidence that a comeback was possible, Ibrahimovic now concedes: "The man can be ready but the knee was not ready."

Perhaps with one eye on a potential move to America (and the lucrative nature of such a deal), the realisation that he may not sufficiently recover drew him into a colder, more calculated approach:

When I was ready, I said to myself 'I am not there.' They had a Zlatan before. After, I was not ready to be that Zlatan.

Incredibly, Ibrahimovic does reveal that despite requests from Jose Mourinho that he make his return to first-team action, the Swede was left with informing the United boss that he simply couldn't: "I was selected in many of the games but I told the coach: 'Listen, I am not ready. I don't want to disappoint you. The respect I have for my team-mates and the coach. Select someone else who can do the job better.' I stood up and did it, even if I am Zlatan."

See Also: Irish Striker Makes Eyebrow-Raising Move To Fifth Tier Of English Football

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