Ibrahimović made his 700th club appearance, and after making this milestone appearance he had the chance to reflect upon his career. He has admitted that he has changed throughout his career, but these evolutions have made him the player who he is today.
“I think I play much more intelligently now because, of course, you change a lot during the years. You get a different physique, you get a different condition, strengths and experiences. But I wish I had the mind that I have today 10 years ago, because then I will be even more phenomenal.”
Ibrahimović now also sees himself as a mentor to the younger players, and believes that he can help the younger talent at United to develop. The Swede also specifically mentions Marcus Rashford, who is the obvious replacement to replace him up front when he eventually leaves Old Trafford. Rashford was impressive up front for United last season, although his opportunities have been limited since Ibrahimović arrived at the club.
“I try to help in every way I can with my experience and the goals will come. Goals are extra, a bonus lets say. If I score then I help the team, but I think I can help in many ways and this is the experience thing. Marcus is a young player; his career has just begun and I am towards the end of my career. I try to help in many ways without the ball, with the ball, with movements, by communicating, by sacrificing. It is part of the game and as a player I want to be as complete as possible, so this is one of the things I have been trying to do.”
When discussing United’s recent fixtures Ibrahimović joked that if United conceded against Tottenham at the weekend it would have been the most disappointing moment of his career, although he claims that he was confident that it would not happen, unlike against Everton. Marouanne Fellaini gave away a last-minute penalty against Everton, which when converted by Leighton Baines cost United two points.
“I was confident. The last game against Everton was more risky, but I was confident we would not concede any goals. We looked good through the whole game. We had a lot of confidence and control. If we had conceded a goal at the end I would not know what to say – it would be the most disappointing moment of my career.”
Ibrahimović will probably make his 24th appearance of the season on Wednesday when United face off against Crystal Palace. He will look to continue his impressive recent form, which has seen him score seven times in his last seven games.