Juan Mata has revealed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic told the kit men at Manchester United that ‘God has arrived’ upon embarking on Carrington for the first time back in July 2016.
The Swede joined up with Jose Mourinho once again after seeing out his contract at Paris Saint Germain and claimed 28 goals in his opening campaign.
He penned another one year deal with the club back in the summer and made a miraculous early return from a knee ligament injury last month.
And Mata has shed light on the moment United’s kit men, happily going about their business, froze at the sight of ‘God’ arriving at Carrington.
“The day he arrived, we were away on pre-season, so he was on his own with the kit men at the training ground,” he said.
“They had never met him before and he’s the sort of guy that garners instant respect because of the way he carries himself.
“Zlatan apparently looked the kit men up and down and said: ‘I hope you know God has arrived.’
“The kit men were shaking and didn’t know what to think, then he fell about laughing with them. He always does that.”
Just picture the scene: a bunch of middle aged to elderly gentlemen going about their regular day, doing whatever it is that kit men do, making pleasant conversation, and then, suddenly, something feels different.
You turn around and, oh my God, everything just stops. Washing machines start exploding everywhere. Laundry detergent turns into pure liquid gold. Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ starts playing from somewhere. The blind can see again.
If Zlatan walked into the room I’m in right now, all 6ft 5 of that warrior-king-esque frame, I have no doubts I would freeze, convulse, and possibly enter a state of paralysis for the rest of my life.
Some people just have a particular presence that demands attention. It almost seems to create a black hole around them that sucks in the attention of everyone present, freezes all emotion, and leaves them in a kind of purgatorial state. Enlightened beings are the prime examples, but with Zlatan you essentially get the same thing plus a devastating presence in the box.
Supporters will desperately hope to see such an influence make defenders – rather than those poor kit men – shake with fear over the next few weeks.