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Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves Manchester United by mutual consent

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has left the club by mutual consent. There were reports in the last few days suggesting that the player will leave the Theatre of Dreams this week to play in the MLS. He has been linked on a number of occasions with LA Galaxy, a team has signed for with reports coming from Sports Illustrated. Ibrahimovic was apparently too old to play in the Premier League when Jose Mourinho brought him to Old Trafford on a free in the summer of 2016 – he only scored 28 goals in his debut season in England.

That season ended abruptly after the Swede suffered a knee injury in a UEFA Europa League match at Old Trafford almost a year ago, which could have ended his career also. Ibrahimovic returned to action from that injury, seven months later, making his return in the 4-1 Premier League victory over Newcastle United on the 18th November 2017. The 36-year-old made six further appearances for United this season, starting his last two appearances. The official Manchester United website released a statement to confirm the Swede’s departure, saying:

“Manchester United confirms that it has agreed to the termination of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract with immediate effect. Everyone at the club would like to thank Zlatan for his contribution to the team since his arrival and wishes him well for the future.”

Ibrahimovic himself released a short statement via his own social media channels stating that ‘great things’ come to an end and that it was ‘time to move on’. The former Swedish international thanked the Old Trafford club, his former teammates, the manager, the club’s staff and the supporters, plus anyone who shared this part of his history at the Theatre of Dreams. Ibrahimovic was a winner, came to United to win and did exactly that helping the club win the FA Community Shield and the EFL Cup last season – also playing a part in United’s successful UEFA Europa League winning campaign.

“Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverred”

Ibrahimovic scored a total of 29 goals during his time at Manchester United, not including the goals he scored during the first pre-season tour ahead of his first season at the club. Many of the goals will be memorable but the fact the media, some United supporters and all the ABU’s stated that the Swede was too old to play football in the Premier League, their thoughts were soon changed after the veteran striker proved them all wrong.

Last season was the first time a Manchester United player had scored more than 20 goals in a season for a while, which showed the club the benchmark for success. Ibrahimovic brought his winning mentality to the club, which was something many players had lost, if they even had it in the first place, after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012/13 season. Having a winner back in the team, a leader, who despite not being the captain, brought that leadership into the team, which helped get results.

If Ibrahimovic had not suffered that devastating injury, he would have played what could have been his last United match in his home country, the UEFA Europa League final, in which United beat Ajax 2-0, earning a place in the UEFA Champions League, a competition Ibrahimovic had wanted to win again. Ibrahimovic still has something to offer world football, which is why he wants to move on. Playing in the MLS may not be the best league in the world, but it is one that the player could continue his career in and still show he has some goals in him.

Thanks for the memories, Zlatan. All the best of luck for the next chapter in your glorious career.

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