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I Feel Like Benjamin Button at Man Utd- Zlatan
Former Manchester United talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic considers Paul Pogba a “fantastic” footballer and also applauds the midfielder for helping him “feel like Benjamin Button” during his time at Old Trafford .
The enigmatic Swedish striker arrived in England back in the summer of 2016 with questions being asked of his ability to deliver in the Premier League at 35 years of age.
As he has made a habit of doing throughout his career, Ibrahimovic silenced those doubters in style as he netted 28 times across his debut campaign and helped to land the Red Devils three trophies.
Working with Jose Mourinho again brought the best out of a mercurial talent, but there was also plenty of quality alongside him – with World Cup winner Pogba considered to be the pick of the bunch .
Ibrahimovic told BBC Sport of his time at Old Trafford and the understanding he struck up with a much-maligned France international: “I miss all of them. I had a fantastic time at United. Wazza [Wayne Rooney], Michael Carrick, then the young guys that wanted to show the world who they are by playing football and they had a lot of hunger to show. I had a good time because I got to know everyone, I was the mature guy with all these guys who were not mature.
“Paul Pogba, I had never played with him before and I didn’t know him as a person. We have the same management and when I got to know him I got to find a fantastic person and a fantastic footballer, but someone who needs to be guided.
“He is a professional guy that works every game and never misses training or a game. Those are all the things that people do not see, you only get judged by what you can see on television or the 90 minutes in the stadium, that’s where you have to perform.
“When you click with someone it just clicks. The connection on the field was amazing, we helped each other very well, I needed him and he needed me. The first year at United we had a fantastic year.
“They made me feel like Benjamin Button. I was getting younger and younger, then unfortunately I got my injury.
“The Premier League should be happy I did not come 10 years ago because it would’ve been a different story. You see all my numbers [of goals] and all of these numbers would’ve been in the Premier League. I came to the right club in United. It was the club and the shirt that I was supposed to shine in and I did it.”
Ibrahimovic has already stated that he believes he could have achieved even more in England had he made a move earlier in his career , but he is still proud of having proved a point to all of those who questioned him.
He added: “When I went to England I was talking to different players that I knew well and trusted that would give me an honest opinion. From all of them everyone said do not do it, they said it would not be good for my career because you put your whole career on one season. If you do not do a good season people will say the rest of the things you did before were useless because you didn’t make it in England, but that triggered me and that’s the challenge I wanted.
“I went against everyone and said that’s what I wanted to do. They thought I was too old, I was 35 and I made the Premier League look old. It took me three months to convince everyone who I was. That was the challenge and I never turn down a challenge.”