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Zlatan Ibrahimovic, LA Galaxy, Manchester United news, analysis, reaction: Why Zlatan was just what Jose needed

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AFTER Manchester United said farewell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Thursday, we look back at his time at Old Trafford, and explain why it was so important for the striker, Jose Mourinho and the club.

It is a somewhat underwhelming exit for an over-the-top character. Zlatan Ibrahimovic departs Manchester United mid-campaign but free of the Roy Keane fireworks, having made only one Premier League start all season. That came in a home game against Burnley in which he was hooked at half-time with United two goals down.

As a result, for all the recent criticism directed at Jose Mourinho and his side, there is no great sense that Ibrahimovic will be a telling loss in the remaining weeks of the season. With 10 goals in 14 appearances since the turn of the year, Romelu Lukaku has done more than enough to reassure supporters of his status as the club’s top striker.

Manchester United's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates with the trophy after the UEFA Europa League final
Manchester United’s Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates with the trophy after the UEFA Europa League finalSource: AFP
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But while Ibrahimovic’s time at Old Trafford has now drawn to a close, it is worth remembering that this self-proclaimed lion once roared in United red. He does not just deserve credit for returning from an anterior cruciate ligament injury in 216 days at the age of 36, but for embodying the winning mentality needed to succeed.

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