Zlatan Ibrahimovic: long-term injury was ‘more severe than revealed’

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that the career threatening injury he sustained in April was more than the “significant knee ligament damage” that had been revealed.

Ibrahimovic, 36 made his comeback in Manchester United’s 4-1 Premier League win against Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday after 77 minutes as a replacement for Anthony Martial.

It was his first action since sustaining the injury on 20 April playing against Anderlecht in the Europa League, and his re-appearance was welcomed with a rousing reception by the home hands.

“It was an amazing reaction from fans but I felt it from day one,” the former Swedish international said. “From the first step in the warm-up, with people singing and cheering for you, it’s what keeps you going. This was not a one-man work, it was everyone’s and thanks to them that I am back on field and can play.”

While his injury was considered grave enough for United to consider foregoing an extension of his contract with the club, Zlatan revealed that it was actually more dire than previously announced.

“If people knew the real injury, they would be in shock that I was even playing,” he added. “It was more than the knee but I will keep it personal – that’s why I choose not to talk of it.”

“In my recovery I have not rushed anything; I have been out for six and half months. I have been following protocol and my schedule day by day. The only secret has been working hard. Those close to me know what I have been doing. I was working five, six hours a day.”

“When it happened I said giving up was not an option. My only focus was on coming back and coming back better. I know it’s my head playing, not my knee; my knee has to follow. With my experience and career I know what I have to do but I feel good. I am very proud of the moment to play again and for everyone around me because I wouldn’t have done it alone. Thanks to the supporters for keeping me motivated, the coach who’s trusted me, the club that believes in me and my family obviously.”

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