Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that his knee injury was far more serious than reported in the global football media.
The 36-year-old returned a month ahead of an already optimistic schedule after suffering an Anterior Cruciate Ligament knee injury back in Man United’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final second-leg victory against Anderlecht.
Most expected Ibrahimovic to return just before the turn of the calendar year, but he replaced Anthony Martial from the substitutes bench on Saturday in United’s 4-1 dismantling of Newcastle United.
Reported as an ACL injury, Ibrahimovic told reporters after the game that it was worse than that.
“I told you, lions don’t recover like humans,” he said.
“That I have now proved, rather than just saying it. But if people knew what kind of injury I had, they would not believe this.
“People believe I only had an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury, but I had more stuff in my knee that was injured.
“I want to keep that to myself, though, because I don’t need to tell the world – it’s very sensitive.”
Quite what Ibrahimovic is referring to his unknown, but given the great severity of an ACL knee injury for most footballers, anything more serious would be a potentially career-ending blow, particularly for someone of the Swede’s age.
Ibrahimovic has done fantastically to return so quickly, though he insisted he didn’t rush ahead of schedule, but simply worked hard to ensure a quick recovery.
He’s now behind the pecking order to £75m summer signing Romelu Lukaku, but will provide great competition to the Belgian and push him on, as well as contributing himself throughout the season. It’s good to have him back, especially when he’s in fine form telling reporters he’s not human.