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How Jose Mourinho convinced Zlatan Ibrahimovic to join Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an immense talent and Manchester United signed him for nothing. The striker arrived at United on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain but will not feature for United on the club’s short tour in China. Ibrahimovic had options to sign throughout the world with clubs in Sweden, Germany, and the United States attempting to get the 34-year-old’s signature. With all the interest in Ibrahimovic, Mourinho was able to lure him to Old Trafford in an attempt to win the Premier League, a title the Swede is yet to challenge for. Mourinho spoke about the short negotiations with Ibrahimovic and that age is only a number.

“Let’s be honest, he’s very rich. He’s made money all his career, he’s won a lot of things, so you only come to the most difficult championship in the world if you feel you can do it.

“If you don’t feel you can do it, you go to America, China — or stay in the French League for one more season. So the guy wanted this one more challenge and I expect he’s going to be very good for us.

“When I told him I’d won in England, Spain, and Italy and he hadn’t, that he’d done Spain, Italy and France, he thought, ‘Ah, I want to go. I want to win every one’. So his motivation is high.

“I know him very well. I always think there’s our age in ID terms but then there’s our real age because, for me, the real age is not the age on your ID. That’s just a date when you were born. The real age, the real ID, is your body, your brain, your attitude and this guy is young, his body is amazing.

“The way he grew up playing the sports he did before football, especially martial arts, he was prepared in terms of his muscles, and the mental point of view in a different way to the traditional football player, in his DNA, his motivation.”

The addition of Ibrahimovic provides another striker option for Mourinho’s men, and most importantly, an experienced striker. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can both perform in the No.9 role that Ibrahimovic will play in while wearing the No.9 jersey. His experience will be vital to the side of Rashford who is the future of the attacking force at the Theatre of Dreams. Mourinho is extremely pleased with the signing of his longtime friend and looks forward to seeing him grouped together with the rest of United’s attackers.

“Sometimes people say the team has no leaders, it’s this, it’s that, but what we need is everybody with the same kind of mentality.

“I like communication and push them to communicate. I give a lot of instruction in training.

“It’s difficult for me to do the same in matches, so I need guys on the pitch to read the game, to understand what we want.

“Zlatan is going to be one of them and I feel already that we have guys to do the same. I don’t think we’re going to have a problem at that level. we have lots of quality.

“When I see our group in the attacking areas – Zlatan, Marcus Rashford, Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, all the wingers we have. I think we have lots of quality in attack to produce good football and score goals.”

Ibrahimovic is still playing brilliant football at his age. When Rashford broke into the first team this past season, critics denounced his talent because of his young age, but the 18-year-old striker shut them down when he continued to score and earned a place in the England national team for Euro 2016. Ibrahimovic continues to score goals and win games at a high level, and now, he can do it the Premier League with United and his favourite manager.

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