Crystal Palace v Man Utd preview: Mourinho confirms Ibrahimovic exit likely

This season is likely to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last in the colours of Manchester United.

Sweden’s all-time top scorer signed for United on a free transfer from PSG in July 2016, and after an impressive first campaign he signed a one-year contract extension last summer.

Mourinho, who also managed Ibrahimovic at Internazionale in 2008-09, is unsure when United’s number 10 will next represent the club despite the fact the 36-year-old took part in the training session before his side’s trip to Seville last week.

“For Zlatan, we all think it’s his last season at Manchester United and it will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop,” said Mourinho.

“I think he won the right of choosing his life and his future – he’s such an amazing player with such an amazing career that only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons that he could, and should, have with us. 

“This season has been really difficult for him. Is he injured? No, he’s not injured. Does he feel totally happy and totally ready and totally convinced that he’s in [the] condition to help the team in this moment? No. 

“But he’s such an honest guy and such a champion that he only wants to be back with that feeling of ‘I’m totally ready for it’. He’s working hard and, hopefully, his evolution brings him to that level that he wants to have a positive answer.”

It may be the case that Ibrahimovic still has a part to play for United in the closing months of the season, with the Red Devils’ busy schedule on the horizon in three separate competitions (Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup).

United sit second in the Premier League table, albeit 16 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City, with ten matches to play starting with Monday’s trip to south Londoners Crystal Palace.

United welcome Sevilla in the Champions League last 16 second leg (currently tied 0-0) on March 13 while four days later in the FA Cup they play fellow top-flight outfit Brighton & Hove Albion.

Ibrahimovic may also still wear the yellow and blue of Sweden at this summer’s World Cup in Russia after hinting this week he may come out of international retirement.

He’s had a career most footballers can only dream about, winning titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France and England, but the next few months could be Ibrahimovic’s last playing at the highest level.

Image courtesy of CamputePlus Sport via YouTube, with thanks.

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