Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he is like a fine wine and gets better with age- and says he can play until he is 50. The in-form Swede took his goals tally to 16 in all competitions on Saturday evening after bagging a brace against West Bromwich Albion. His first goal was vintage Manchester United with Jesse Lingard whipping in a David Beckham-esque cross for the striker to head home from 6 yards.
Many doubted the Swedish star’s ability to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League but United’s leading goalscorer seems to be handling life in England just fine. The official Manchester United website reported Zlatan’s post match interview:
“I’m settling in, I feel happy, I feel good. Even if I am 35, in my mind I am 20. I think I can play also at 50! But the older I get, the better – like the wine. You like wine? It’s the perfect example.
“The only thing that surprised me [here] is the game is end to end. It’s not controlled by one team but is back and front, back and front. The rhythm is high, which I knew, and I was prepared but, for this game, I have to prepare the body for it. I’ve played in different championships in different countries and you have to adapt the body for that, the way it is played.”
Ibrahimovic was happy United secured all three points after United’s tendency to go ahead and concede late on, in recent weeks:
“Yeah, it was a good game. We took the three points but it was a difficult game. It was very physical but, at the end, we won and we’re happy with it. Every game is hard, not only here, but we were prepared for it. We know it and we are working hard but we got the three points so it was good.”
Zlatan is making the headlines for the right reasons at the moment. As previously mentioned, many pundits and fans alike doubted his ability to adapt to English football but his presence on the pitch is proving people wrong.
Jamie Redknapp previously doubted the Swede and questioned how he would cope with the physical demands of the Premier League. Now, he has compared Zlatan to Manchester United icon Eric Cantona. In his column for the Daily Mail, Redknapp said:
“We had this idea that Zlatan was a bit of a bad boy but he is the ultimate pro. He has his own trainer and really looks after himself. He reminds me of Eric Cantona, who changed the mindset of younger players at United in terms of doing extra training and how to take care of yourself.”
This shows how Zlatan is proving his critics wrong and it seems it is people who doubt him that motivates Ibrahimovic to succeed. I understand this comparison to an extent. Just like Cantona inspired players such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and David Beckham, Zlatan can do the same for players like Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Jesse Lingard. However, Cantona propelled United to titles and silverware and that remains to be seen whether Ibrahimovic can do that for this current United team.