Wednesday 28 September 2016

"Easy decision" for Ibrahimovic to join Man Utd as Giggs looks set to leave

Published 01/07/2016 | 14:16

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joined Manchester United.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joined Manchester United.

New signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits it was an easy decision to say yes to Manchester United and Jose Mourinho.

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But as one influential figure arrives, another is set to depart as Ryan Giggs brings to an end a 29-year association with the club as there is no place for him in his current role as assistant manager, according to a report from the BBC.

However, loss of a loyal club servant will be eclipsed by the arrival of a genuine superstar.

Ibrahimovic, who recently retired from international duty with Sweden, completed his free transfer to Old Trafford after his contract expired at Paris St Germain.

Press Association Sport understands he has signed a one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months.

That potential extension means his stay could be longer than initially thought - he was expected to head to Major League Soccer next year - but much will depend on how his first season goes.

Judging by his first interview, in which the most repeated word was 'win', Ibrahimovic has every intention of bringing success to Old Trafford.

"I am super excited, super happy. Finally it has been done," he told MUTV.

"There has been a lot of talk but we were not at the moment where everything is done and now the hard work starts.

"I played in the Euros and there was more talk about my future than the Euros.

"Finally everything is over and I can focus on my new club and do as good as possible and leave everything behind me.

"I think my decision was pretty easy, it was more to make it possible.

"I compare it with the (Floyd) Mayweather and (Manny) Pacquiao fight - they said it would never happen but it happened.

"I'd like to thank United and Jose Mourinho, obviously, because they made it possible.

"My decision was the easiest part. The rest was a puzzle but the puzzle came together and all of us are happy."

Ibrahimovic has played under Mourinho before, at Inter Milan in 2008-9 winning the Serie A title together, and the Portuguese has obviously had a huge influence on the enigmatic Swede.

"I have great memories. The only regret I have with Jose is I had a short time with him, one season, but we won together and had a great time together and I learned a lot.

"I got to know him as a person not only as a coach. He's a winner, I'm a winner and we both know what we want: wherever we go we win and we will win.

"I think it is a big challenge for me. Wherever I went I won and I am looking forward to this new adventure, a new chapter in my life.

"I don't know how many players had the possibility to play in the competitions I have and at the same time be winning.

"I know my mentality and I come to win. I want to win but behind everything is hard work and that is what I come to do."

The appreciation appears mutual with Mourinho heaping praise on his new striker.

"Zlatan needs no introduction. The statistics speak for themselves," he said.

"Ibra is one of the best strikers in the world and a player who always gives 100 per cent.

"He has won the most important league championships in the world of football, now he has the opportunity to play in the best league in the world and I know he will grasp this opportunity and will work hard to help the team win titles.

"I am certain that his talent will delight fans at Old Trafford next season and that his experience will be invaluable in helping to develop the younger players in the squad."

There was not so much love for Giggs, who after making a record 963 appearances for the club before joining the backroom team, has discovered Mourinho does not want to keep him on the coaching staff, instead giving the assistant manager role to Rui Faria.

The Old Trafford club had hoped Giggs could be persuaded to stay on in a different role but the 42-year-old Welshman appears to have decided to move on.

Club officials have not confirmed the news yet but the BBC reports Giggs' departure will be announced in the coming days.

The Cardiff-born Giggs has spent the last two seasons as Louis van Gaal's assistant, having served a short stint as caretaker manager after David Moyes' departure at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.

Prior to that, he was a fixture in United's first team for 23 years, scoring 168 goals in all competitions and winning 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cup winner's medals, three from the League Cup and two Champions League winner's prizes.

But the fans' favourite has never hidden his desire to progress as a manager and he is widely believed to have been disappointed that he was overlooked for the top job.

Having completed his coaching badges, Giggs was linked with Swansea City last season and Nottingham Forest this summer, although that post has now been filled by Frenchman Philippe Montanier.

Giggs, who played 64 times for Wales, has most recently been seen as a pundit for ITV during Euro 2016 but has given no clues as to what he will do next.

The first man to win back-to-back PFA Young Player of the Year awards (1992 and 1993), Giggs was named PFA Player of the Year and BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009.

While the vast majority of United fans will be sorry to see Giggs leave, few will be surprised.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust described Giggs as a "natural born winner" and expressed a wish to see the long-serving player return to Old Trafford as manager in the future.

A statement from MUST read: "Ryan has been incredible player for Manchester United. He is the most decorated player in the history of the club.

"That's some achievement when you think of all the great players who have played for us. He is a natural born winner who never accepts defeat, winning was in his DNA.

"In these times of football mercenaries, Ryan was a one-club man and his love, passion and dedication for Manchester United has always shone through, on and off the field.

"We wish him well and future success in his new career as a manager. It would be wonderful to see him enjoy success elsewhere, perhaps before returning one day to manage Manchester United."

Press Association

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