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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back as Manchester United's 'extra man'

 

Manchester United Update

 

EPL first place club Manchester United has resigned superstar Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who will be the "extra man" for United following the Christmas holiday season said manager Jose Mourinho. Thirty-five-year-old Ibra who scored 28 goals in 48 matches for Man United last campaign, has signed a new one-year deal. Due to a knee injury, Ibrahimovic was released prematurely by the titan club in June 2017 after the season was ended.

 

"I am back to finish what I started. It was always mine and the club's intention for me to stay. I cannot wait to get back out on that Old Trafford pitch, but I also know that I have to take my time to make sure that I am ready. I have been working hard and will continue to do so to make sure I am in the best possible condition for my return to the pitch."

"Let him do his work, step by step and come back when he is ready," said Mourinho. "He won't be ready for the group phase of the Champions League. No chance of that. I just think he will be the extra man for us in the second part of the season. The second part of the season is normally January, after Christmas, when the transfer window reopens."

 

Ibrahimovic who initially was hired by Manchester United on a free transfer in July 2016, has been in rehab recuperating at United's training ground after knee surgery.

 

"A club like Manchester United has to show how big it is in details," said Mourinho. "This is a big detail. A player that gets injured with a Manchester United shirt, fighting for Manchester United, the club has to be there for him. I am really happy with both the club and player. Some talent you cannot waste”.

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United announced that Ibra would be wearing the number 10 shirt after new signing Romelu Lukaku took the 9 jersey that was previously the Swede's. Ibrahimovic will have competition for a forward place from £75m Man United signing Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial. Martial scored four times in 25 Premier League games for United last season, but the 21-year-old forward has netted twice in two substitute appearances this term. Although France international Martial was linked with a move from Old Trafford, Mourinho said he wants "more and more" from Martial.

"I hope he will be better this season than last," said the Portuguese Red Devils’ boss. "When you have some talent you cannot waste. When you are blessed with talent, you have to fulfill and explore it. You cannot be happy with just glimpses. That I am not going to change."

In the new season, Mourinho expects to see improvement from United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan after having initially endured a slow start to his Manchester United career.

"He understands me and I understand him," added Mourinho about Mkhitaryan. "With his talent, this season will be even better."

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Wayne Rooney who recently left Old Trafford to his return to Goodison Park and his boyhood club Everton recently announced his retirement from international football. Mourinho said the former England captain "told me the night before", and that he understood the 31-year-old's former England and Manchester United captain’s reasons for doing so.

"He does it for Everton and his family," said Mourinho. "I realize, like many other people, when he retires how many times he plays, how many goals he scored, what he represents for football in this country."

The Red Devil’s will play their opening Champions League match in Group A on September 12 at home at Old Trafford against FC Basel after gaining a spot in the upcoming 2017 - 2018 Champions League Group Stages by winning the Europa League. Legendary Swedish football star Ibrahimovic starred for United last season but missed playing in Man United’s Europa League triumph in Stockholm after sustaining a serious knee injury against Anderlecht in the quarter-final second leg. 

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Superstar Ibrahimovic, 35, made 46 appearances and scored 28 goals for the club during the 2016-17 England Premier League campaign. Ibrahimovic has won a trophy in each of the past 15 seasons of his career.

"We are delighted Zlatan is on the road to recovery and we are equally delighted to have his ambition and experience back with us. After his contribution last season he deserves our trust and we will be patient waiting for him to return. I have no doubt that he will be important in the second part of the season," said Red Devil’s boss Mourinho.

Reportedly, Ibrahimovic is being considered for a coaching role with the club when he retires from playing.  The veteran forward rejoins Mourinho’s United side that have steamrollered two 3 wins to open their Premier League campaign taking them to first place on the EPL Table. 

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The Manchester United Legends are back!

 

On Saturday, the Manchester United Legends play the Barcelona Legends at Old Trafford. Red Devils' Legends captain Bryan Robson’s side carry a two-goal lead into the tie having won the first leg 3-1 at Barca's Nou Camp.

 

Bryan Robson

 

“It’s nice to have a club with charisma like Barcelona coming and playing at Old Trafford, and the boys will be well up for it because the tradition between Man United and Barcelona in Europe is there for all to see. They’ve got some real good forwards and midfield players, and we’ve got some real good forwards in our squad, so it’ll be a competitive game.”

Edwin van der Sar 

"Of course it's always nice to go back to Old Trafford, I played there in Michael Carrick's testimonial match and I have played in a few other charity games. I'm looking forward to playing against Barcelona in September. Hopefully, we're not going to mess it up! [Laughs] Not many teams go away and win the first leg so we should be able to lift the trophy."

Manchester United Legends:

-  Bryan Robson (Manager)
-  Andrew Cole (Assistant Manager)
-  Raimond van der Gouw
-  Denis Irwin
-  Ronny Johnsen
-  Mikael Silvestre
-  Russel Beardsmore
-  Jesper Blomqvist
-  Wes Brown
-  Bojan Djordjic
-  Ji-sung Park
-  Karel Poborsky
-  Ben Thornley
-  Louis Saha
-  Ruud van Nistelrooy
-  Dion Dublin
-  Danny Webber
-  Dwight Yorke
-  Edwin van der Sar

Barcelona Legends:

-  Albert 'Chapi' Ferrer (Manager)
-  Eric Abidal
-  Frédéric Dehú
-  Luis Garcia
-  Xavi Guzmán
-  Jesús Angoy
-  Gaizka Mendieta
-  Andoni Goicoetxea
-  Patrick Kluivert
-  Juan Carlos Moreno
-  Aloisio Pires
-  Juan Carlos Rodriguez
-  Simao Sabrosa
-  F.X.Sanchez Jara
-  Sergi Barjuan
-  Juliano Belletti
-  Jofre Mateu
-  Edmilson
-  Edgar Davids