Zlatan: Return proves I'm a lion
Zlatan Ibrahimovic again likened himself to a lion after returning from his serious knee injury miraculously ahead of schedule in
Manchester United's 4-1 thumping of Newcastle United.
Ibrahimovic entered the fray on 77 minutes to a standing ovation at Old Trafford and, wearing the Reds' no.10 shirt for the first time, he occupied a deep-lying position behind his successor at no.9, Romelu Lukaku, and Marcus Rashford. After his comeback cameo, the big Swede admitted his injury was worse than people realised.
"I told you, lions don’t recover like humans. That I have now proved, rather than just saying it," he told MUTV with a smile.
"But if people knew what kind of injury I had, they would not believe this. People believe I only had an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] injury, but I had more stuff in my knee that was injured. I want to keep that to myself, though, because I don’t need to tell the world – it’s very sensitive.”
Commenting on the feeling he had when the crowd roared his name during the warm-up, Ibrahimovic says he felt the love.
"Even in the warm-up, I felt the supporters cheering my name, singing my song. It gives me a lot of energy, a lot of love, motivation, you just want to go out there and give back.
"I was very pumped, very honoured, very proud. In that moment, I just wanted to go out, smell the grass and just give back, play my game, touch the ball as much as possible, feel free to play, doing things I did before my injury, because I have not been able to do these things whilst I was injured.
"I am just thankful I am able to run, do my things, do a little bit of ‘abracad
abra’ magic, things that a lion does!"
United’s leading scorer of last season admits he's grateful to be back in action and cites his determination as a key factor in his remarkable recovery.
"It feels amazing [to be back]," he said. "I am very thankful that I am able to play football again after what happened. I appreciate every day I can put on the football boots and work hard and play the game that I love, play the game that I have played all my life and the game that means everything for me.
"To give up was not an option, it was only to work my way back and give everything. I am stubborn when it comes to reaching my objectives. When I got injured, my objective was to come back as strong as possible and there was no other choice.