After rupturing his anterior cruciate Zlatan Ibrahimovic was expected to be out of the game until 2018, but days away from Manchester United’s match against Newcastle, his return to the game looks imminent.
The Swedish striker had been sidelined for seven months after receiving the injury last season in the Europa League quarter final victory over Anderlecht.
But the 36 year-old, who was initially released by the club this summer before signing a new deal in late August, has returned to full training at United’s Carrington complex and could make the bench on Saturday.
Since his absence Romelu Lukaku came from Everton as his long term replacement and has worn the No. 9 shirt since, but Ibrahimovic has suggested he will take up the No. 10 on his return.
Despite his premature exit from the squad, the former Paris Saint Germain player still managed to end the season as United’s top scorer with 28 goals in all competitions.
His return whenever it is, will most certainly be way ahead of schedule and some what miraculous after he felt ‘paralyzed’ after being confined to his bed.
‘I’m determined to return better and stronger than before,’ Ibrahimovic said in an interview with Volvo. A fr cry from his initial fears.
‘I have never been hurt but then I felt I swallowed my tongue. It was a strange feeling I had never known before.
‘Thoughts started spinning in my head. What’s happening? I am 35, what can I do? What does the future hold? Instead of focusing one thing at a time, like normally, a lot of things were spinning around in my mind.
‘The first thing I said to myself was “giving up is not an alternative”. I have come this far and will finish on my terms, not anyone else’s.
‘I’ve got new scars that could be called tattoos. They will be memories for life. I’ll always remember what happened, what I’ve gone through and what I’ve been fighting for.
‘I remember being on crutches and lying in bed for 12 hours a day, feeling paralysed when you are used to playing and exercising every day. I am the kind of person who is always training a lot. Hard work gives you something in return, that is my philosophy.’