When Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the most decorated footballers around moved to Manchester United at the age of 35, critics, fans and even his friends urged him against the move as it would risk the reputation of an illustrious career.
However, the Swedish striker proved doubters wrong with another great spell with the English Premier League club and in an interview with BBC 5 Live, he revealed his successful stint at the club made him feel like ‘Benjamin Button.’
The reference is from the movie ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, where the protagonist is born as an old person and dies as an infant.
Speaking to BBC 5 Live, Ibrahimovic revealed how he was discouraged for the Manchester United move, “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,” he said.
“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.” Ibrahimovic, who also played for Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona and both Milan giants, added: “I went against everyone and said that’s what I wanted to do. They thought I was too old… 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.”
A knee injury halted his otherwise stellar personal record with Manchester United, after remaining on the sidelines for about seven months, and with the then-new signing of Romelu Lukaku, Ibrahimovic’s game time reduced and he eventually moved to US-based Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy in 2017.