The iconic striker says the forward remains a major influence on the squad, despite being without an official contract at Old Trafford
Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to have a big influence over the Manchester United squad despite being released by the club, according to midfielder Paul Pogba.
The Swedish striker’s one-year contract at Old Trafford expired at the end of the 2016-17 season, but he has remained at the club’s training complex while recovering from a knee ligament injury sustained in April.
And Pogba admits that Ibrahimovic is still very much involved in the United squad as he faced the media ahead of the International Champions Cup meeting with Barcelona on Wednesday.
“Obviously Zlatan is a leader, always a big leader, and he’s a big leader because he’s still in the team,” said Pogba. “Even when he’s not playing, he’s a leader outside of the pitch.”
United won the Community Shield, the League Cup and the Europa League in Pogba’s first season back at the club after a four-year spell at Juventus, and the 24-year-old is aiming to emulate the leadership shown to him by the likes of Ibrahimovic and fellow midfielder Michael Carrick.
“I’ve been playing for one season,” he said. “I came here to hopefully be a leader in the team and that’s not the objective but that’s how you should be.
“I’ve been here, we won, and you want to grow up as a player and a leader as well. I can learn from him [Ibrahimovic], from Carras [Carrick], and all the other players and become a leader.”
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Reflecting on the transition from Juventus – where Pogba won four consecutive Serie A titles – back to United, the France international added: “It was a big challenge.
“I knew I wouldn’t play in the Champions League. I thought to myself: ‘I want Manchester United to be the Manchester United as they were back in the day’, and we are on the way.
“We won three trophies last season, so I hope that we are going to continue that way and improve.”