Belfast Telegraph

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come to England for only one reason - to win the Premier League, says Jose Mourinho

By Mark Ogden

Jose Mourinho claims Zlatan Ibrahimovic's determination to end his career as a winner in the Premier League will propel him to success at Manchester United.

Ibrahimovic (34) is expected to make his United debut against Galatasaray in Gothenburg next week after missing the club's two-game tour of China due to an extended break following his participation at Euro 2016 with Sweden.

The free transfer signing from Paris Saint-Germain arrives at Old Trafford with question marks hanging over his ability to physically cope with the demands of an English season.

More: Premier League club guide 2016/17

But, having worked with Ibrahimovic at Inter Milan, Mourinho insists there is no reason to doubt his capability to stand out in the Premier League with United.

"Let's be honest, he (Ibrahimovic) is very rich," Mourinho said.

"He's made money all his career, he's won a lot of things, so you only come to the most difficult championship in the world if you feel you can do it.

"If you don't feel you can do it, you go to America, China or stay in the French League one more season.

"So the guy wanted this one more challenge. When I told him that I had won in England, Spain and Italy and he hadn't, that he'd done Spain, Italy and France, he thought, 'Ahh, I want to go. I want to win every one.'

"So his motivation is high and his body is amazing. On Sunday, he is going to start a specific programme we have prepared before he joins our group on the Thursday, so he has five days just for him."

More: Jose Mourinho: I won't rest on my laurels... I will make Manchester United great again

At 34, Ibrahimovic arrives at United in the twilight of his career, but Mourinho claims that his age should be forgotten about when judging his contribution.

"First of all, I know him very well," Mourinho said. "I always think there's our age in ID terms but then there's our real age.

"For me, the real age is not the age on your ID. That's just a date when you were born. The real age, the real ID is your body, your brain, your attitude, and this guy is young, his body is amazing.

"The way he grew up playing the sports he did before football, especially martial arts, he was prepared in terms of his muscles and the mental point of view in a different way to the traditional football player, his DNA, his motivation. I expect he is going to be very good for us."

While Mourinho has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will retain the captaincy under his management at United, the new manager admits he wants more leaders on the pitch.

"Zlatan is going to be one of them and I feel already that we have guys to do the same. I don't think we're going to have a problem at that level," he added.

"We have lots of quality. When I see our group in the attacking area, Zlatan, Rashford, Rooney, Mkhitaryan, Mata, all the wingers we have, I think we have lots of quality in attack to produce good football and score goals."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph