The two worked together at Inter Milan back in 2009 where they struck up an immediate bond. Ibrahimovic stated upon his arrival to Old Trafford that Mourinho was a fundamental factor in shaping his decision to join the club and that mutual respect is clear between the pair.
Ibrahimovic joined Manchester United earlier this month on a free transfer after his contract with Paris Saint Germain ended in June and when asked about the 34-year-old, Mourinho was evidently excited about the Swede’s arrival.
“I was so happy to go for him and obviously he’s happy to work with me,” he said.
“He’s a winner, he’s a goalscorer, he’s funny.
“He’s a funny guy. You need to understand him to use this word to describe him. He’s a funny guy.
“If you don’t know him maybe you think some quotes a bit arrogant. He’s just a funny guy. I would say that. Funny, winner and goalscorer.”
Needless to say, the relationship between manager and player is key. Last season, United players on the whole felt alienated and angered by Louis van Gaal and his bemusing system, which precipitated disjointed displays on the pitch.
Contrast that with the relationship between Mourinho and Ibrahimovic: in an interview, the Swede said that he would “die” for Mourinho. Such respect and dedication is the keystone to any successful team. If such an attitude can permeate through to the rest of the side, United could be an unshakeable force.