Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed his regrets and also apologised to Manchester United fans for not arriving at the club earlier in his career, promising they would have seen “a different lion”.
The Swede played a starring role in his opening season at Old Trafford – finishing as top scorer with 28 goals in all competitions in 2016/17 – guiding the club to victory in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
However, a severe knee injury at the towards the end of his first season hampered him for the remainder of his United career with his last game coming against Burnley in December 2017.
“I feel sorry for the fans – if they’d seen me younger, they’d have seen a different lion,” he declared, in his unmistakable style.
“For the Premier League, it would have been dangerous, as I would have eaten them for breakfast; instead, I took them for lunch. But I came: they wanted me, I gave them me and I took over. Been there and done that.
“I would need more time to explain my feelings but let’s start with a big thanks to everybody – what they did was amazing and I hope they are as happy as I am,” he continued.
“I gave as much as I could for as long as I could; when I got injured, I got support in a different way. They always stood behind me and my team-mates.
“They are special: everywhere I see red, I think about United. It will remain in history and my career; when I look back at my time with United, I will do it with a smile. I wish them all the best in the future.”
Ibrahimovic, who joined LA Galaxy after leaving Old Trafford, has backed his former club to have a “special season” after watching them train in the USA.