Zlatan Ibrahimovic has explained why he opted to join Manchester United over moving to the Chinese Super League, noting that he wanted to challenge himself in a difficult league as opposed to simply picking up a big wage.
The Swede, since joining Man United in July, has netted 18 goals in all competitions – already eclipsing the total reached by Anthony Martial last season (17) that saw him become the club’s top scorer.
Ibrahimovic picked up the Premier League Player of the Month award for December after netting six goals in seven games during the festive period.
When asked why he chose to join United at the age of 35, Zlatan said: “Because after many years of talks like: ‘He can never make it in the Premier, he can never make it there’, I had my little adventure going around different countries, and when they felt it was most difficult for me, I chose to come.”
“Let’s say a person in my position would take the easiest way, go abroad, make money in China, or the other side and settle down with the career he had, I choose not.
“I took the challenge, accept the challenge, and that’s what I chose. That’s why I chose United also, in a situation where they struggled for the last four or five years, and if I can finish the task to bring them to the top, I will be more than happy.
“I don’t like the easy task, the easy job, the easy objectives, I always had it hard whenever I went. I needed to do much more than the other ones, and that’s how I see it here, at the age of 35, people said it would be impossible but I am doing what I am able to do.
“This is something I have been doing for the past 15 years, this is nothing new for me, the only new is the colour of the shirt, the new country and new competition. I keep doing my things, that is what people don’t understand, but I make them understand.”
Zlatan does not speak like a regular footballer. Zlatan speaks like a Scandinavian war king who has, over the past 15 years, dominated Holland, Italy, Spain and France, and now sits in his Manchester lair, reminding his mortal English subjects of the fact that he will “make them understand” why he is Europe’s top dog, just like he has done all across Europe.
The Swede does not behave like any other 35-year-old footballer. It is well known that, at the age of 35, footballers should either retire or accept a lucrative deal overseas, but Zlatan clearly didn’t get the memo.
His physical condition is nothing short of outstanding. In a career that has seen Zlatan make 705 club appearances, he has been injured for a total of 36 games. That is nothing short of unbelievable. The trick to such longevity, of course, is the right mindset, and nobody boasts more raw confidence and omnipotence than the big Swede himself.