Saturday 3 December 2016

'Mastermind' Jose Mourinho persuaded Zlatan Ibrahimovic to finally move to England

Samuel Lovett

Published 05/09/2016 | 10:40

Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that he finally moved to the Premier League to be reunited with "mastermind" Jose Mourinho, despite turning down past offers to join both Manchester City and Arsenal.

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The 34-year-old left Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent in the summer and after weeks of speculation was unveiled as a Manchester United player at the end of June.

Ibrahimovic admitted that prior to joining United he had never felt the need to play in the Premier League and rejected offers from two of the league’s biggest clubs.

“I was close two times to moving to the Premier League – once with Arsenal and then Manchester City,” he said. “But it never happened and I don’t need to play in the Premier League."

But Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Old Trafford made all the difference.

Having played under the Portuguese at Inter Milan - where he developed a strong relationship with the coach - the Swede jumped at the opportunity to be reunited with his former boss.

"He is the mastermind, the master-brain. He knows what he needs to do to win," Ibrahimovic said of the United boss. "I learned a lot from him at Inter. Who wouldn't want to have Mourinho as manager?"

Although Ibrahimovic cites Mourinho as the driving factor behind his move to United, his agent Mino Raiola recently suggested that money ultimately kept the Swedish striker from making a return to Italy and Milan.

Raiola claims that Zlatan's heart was set on AC Milan, and the only reason a move didn't go through was due to Milan's inability to afford his wages.

Speaking to Mediaset Premium, Raiola said: “Italy cannot afford him, so we had to work out other plans.

“Milan are in his heart, certainly his favourite club in Italy and probably the whole world. But this summer we always worked towards Manchester United.”

Ibrahimovic has already enjoyed two spells at the San Siro, scoring 66 goals in 117 appearances for Inter from 2006 to 2009, as well as 56 goals in 85 for AC Milan from 2010 to 2012.

But only United were able and willing to meet his £260,000-a-week salary, making him one of the best paid players in the league.

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