Sunday 18 December 2016

Evergreen Ibra has a superstar aura in the Cantona mould

Zlatan Ibrahimovic he is a Swedish hero, on a free from PSG..

When we signed the big Swede in the summer, the critics were queueing up to chastise United's latest piece of transfer business.
Too old, too slow, he won't be able to adapt, he'll be a flop like Radamel Falcao they said.

Those critics only ratcheted up a notch when he suffered the longest goal drought of his career but he instead looks to be exactly what we've needed and the missing piece of the jigsaw. 

Ibrahimovic has described himself as being like a fine wine: he just gets better with age and he's shown no sings of slowing down.

He brings a presence and a superstar aura to United that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona and Ruud van Nistelrooy provided. 

He went ten matches without scoring - from the City game in September until the Swansea game in November - but has not stopped finding the net since.

He has scored ten goals in as many games and his brace at West Brom were his 15th and 16th of the campaign - no United striker since 2002 has reached that figure in a campaign by Christmas. 

A predatory finisher, his positioning and poise for the opener at West Brom was perfect and his angled finish on the run at Palace was reminiscent of Van Nistelrooy in his prime. 

He carries an edge to his game, too as he wound up Yohan Cabaye on Wednesday and then clattered into Garath McAuley with a crunching challenge at the Hawthorns.
There was the little tug on Craig Dawson to create the space in which he manoeuvred to nod in Jesse Lingard's superb cross.

Like Cantona, Ibrahimovic is not an all-action player: for much of the game he is static but when a chance comes his movement is perfect and he can produce magic moments from nowhere. 

It is not just his striking record that sets the Swede apart: it is his swagger, his strut, his sense of superiority. 

We've had plenty of good strikers but very few in recent years have come with the enigma and fear factor that Zlatan has. 

Despite his apparent self-centredness, the other players clearly look up to him: Jose has instilled an evident sense of spirit and togetherness in the team and he is at the heart of it.

There is an awe and an admiration of his age-defying fitness, his unstinting ability to play every game and a deep respect for what he's achieve in a stellar footballing career. 

Many United fans are coming to the same conclusion: whilst there will never be another Cantona, Zlatan has all the assets the King came with and is the closest we're going to get. 

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