Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Manchester United on a sensational free transfer in 2016 – and his arrival was met with words of caution from Old Trafford legend Eric Cantona. Ibrahimovic declared he would be the “god of Manchester” after United legend Eric Cantona said he could not usurp him as “king”.
Ibrahimovic joined the Red Devils on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, becoming the latest legendary forward to don the famous red jersey. Renowned for his egotistical character, the Swede regularly refers to himself in the third person and describes himself as a “lion”.
One of his forebears in the United attack, Cantona, was equally boastful throughout his five seasons at Old Trafford, during which he won four Premier League titles and the FA Cup twice. The two great egos met after Ibrahimovic was unveiled as a United player and the towering striker opened up on their conversation to Italian outlet Le Iene, per Goal, last weekend.
Ibrahimovic recalled: “One day Cantona said to me: ‘You cannot be the king of Manchester, you will have to be content with being the prince’. “And I replied: ‘But I’m not interested in becoming king, I want to be the god of Manchester’.” While Ibrahimovic did not come close to matching Cantona’s legacy at United, he certainly made his mark during his brief stint with the club.
He scored 28 goals during his first season under Jose Mourinho, adding the EFL Cup and Europa League to his overflowing trophy cabinet. Ibrahimovic then moved to LA Galaxy in March 2018 for what many predicted would be the closing chapter of his career.
After two impressive years in Major League Soccer, however, Ibrahimovic returned to Europe for a second spell with Serie A giants AC Milan. The 6’5″ marksman is now into his third season with the club having scored 28 goals in 47 appearances during his first two campaigns back at San Siro.
Remarkably, Ibrahimovic turned 40 on Sunday but, when fit, he continues to score at a remarkable rate. In contrast, Cantona retired from the game aged 30 in a move that shocked the Premier League. Ibrahimovic returned from a knee injury to score against Lazio last month but he has subsequently been battling an Achilles issue.
He suggested he could return shortly after the October international break as he discussed his injury, adding: “Yes, it is better, only small problems but they are solved. I feel young, another year has passed and I’m just waiting to get back on the pitch.”
Milan is second to Napoli in the table and when asked which team would win Serie A, Ibrahimovic responded: “Who wins the Scudetto? What team does Zlatan play for Milan? Then Milan.”