'That could be a cruciate ligament injury' - Ex Manchester United physio fears Ibrahimovic's season may be over
EXCLUSIVE: Knee injury is 'fairly negative'
Jose Mourinho admits the early prognosis on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's knee injury is 'fairly negative', with a former Old Trafford medical expert quick to suggest the Swedish striker suffered knee ligament damage in Thursday night's Europa League win against Anderlecht.
Marcus Rashford extra-time goal eased an edgy United to a 3-2 aggregate win that eased Mourinho's side into the last four of a competition that may offer them their best chance to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Yet United's progress to a first ever semi-final in Europe's second string competition came at a cost, with defender Marcos Rojo and Ibrahimovic facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after what appeared to be serious injuries.
Ibrahimovic jarred his knee as he challenged for a high ball shortly before the end of 90 minutes in tense quarter-final tie at Old Trafford, with Mourinho offering this downbeat assessment of the two injuries after the game.
Mourinho 'not optimistic' on Ibrahimovic and Rojo after duo are forced off with injuries. pic.twitter.com/G5zTTAMIno— ITV Football (@itvfootball) April 20, 2017
"They do not look like easy injuries," he said of both Ibrahimovic and Rojo. "I would not like to say until we do the tests, but overall..fairly negative."
Meanwhile, ex-United physio Matty Radcliffe told Independent.ie that Ibrahimovic will be fortunate to escape a lengthy spell on the sidelines, with an injury that looks set to sideline the 35-year-old striker for an extended period.
"From the way his knee bent as he landed, that looks likely to be a posterior cruciate ligament injury or a meniscus tear," Radcliffe told us.
"The next 48 hours will be crucial in deciding the extent of the injury, but he will be very fortunate to get away with a long-term problem after.
"The fact that he walked off the field and didn't need a stretcher does not mean anything. That can happen even if your knee very badly damaged, but that looks like a bad one for me."
Ibrahimovic's injury could not have come at a worse time for United or the player, with his future uncertain as he stalls on signing a new contract with the Old Trafford club.
He has been strongly linked with a move to America's MLS, but a lengthy spell on the sidelines may scupper all of those plans and at this stage of his career, there must be a chance that we have seen the last of Ibrahimovic in a United shirt.