By 90Min
November 20, 2017

Back in April, Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have feared his astronomical career was over after suffering meniscus and cruciate ligament damage to his knee. 

Compounded by the predictions of medical experts he could expect to be out of the game for a minimum of nine to twelve months; his future looked extremely bleak.

Nevertheless, the former Swedish international rose like Lazarus and after being out for six-and-half months, he came on as a 77th minute substitute in Manchester United's 4-1 defeat over Newcastle United on Saturday evening. 

Reported by online soccer magazine Football 365, Ibrahimovic spoke about his journey back: “In my recovery I have not rushed anything. 

"People may believe that because I have been out for six and a half months but I have been following protocol and my schedule day by day. The only secret has been working hard.

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“Those close to me know what I have been doing – I was working five, six hours a day. When it happened I said to everybody giving up was not an option.

“My only focus was on coming back and coming back better. For that you need to work hard. I know when I’m back it’s my head playing, not my knee. My knee has to follow.

“But this was not a one-man work, it was everyone’s and it is thanks to them that I am back on the field and can play because if people really knew the real injury they would be in shock that I was even playing."

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Not only having to deal with the uncertainty of his professional career, the prolific striker's future at Old Trafford was intensified as his contract expired during his injury lay off. In fact, it wasn't until this campaign started that a new one year deal was offered and then signed.

“It’s fantastic to be playing. Jose said, 'Do whatever you want, I trust in you and you know what you have to do,’ so I was not worried.

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“The contract is all paperwork and I do the physical work. Even if I had a contract or not I needed to train. I knew I would stay because I wanted to stay. The numbers have never been an issue.

“I could have signed a deal after two months but didn’t because I am honest with myself. I want to stay because I can perform.”

Hopefully, his injury nightmare is now firmly behind him as his experience and undoubted quality could certainly help to spearhead United's challenge for domestic and European glory this season.

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