Sunday, 19 November 2017

Remarkable return for Zlat man Ibra

Let's all just take a moment to applaud and admire the God-like status of the man that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

When he went down in a crumpled heap against Anderlecht in April's Europa League quarter final, it was the worst possible news. 

Ibra had ruptured his ACL. 
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The injury denied Zlatan the rare landmark of 30 goals in a season and also robbed him of a fairytale finish in his home city in the Europa League final.

Not only did that look to have spelt the end of his brief career at United, but it also left us wondering if we'd ever see him on a football pitch again. 
To suffer a career-threatening injury at the age of 35, with the prospect of a year long lay-off, would be enough to push most players to thoughts of retirement.

For one of the most supremely talented players of the modern era, it would have been a sad end to a highly successful and decorated career. In the 77th minute of Saturday's 4-1 win over Newcastle, those thoughts were nothing more than a distant memory. 

Zlat man was back - indeed, it seems that lions don't recover like humans. 

But, then again, sometimes you wonder if Zlatan is human. 

Ibra had defied logic, medical science, age and seemingly his own body to make a remarkable return to action after seven months and 212 days. 

He almost scored too, in typical Zlatan style, as Rob Elliot pushed away his acrobatic scissor kick from close range.

Danny Welbeck suffered the same injury and spent over a year on the sidelines, and Chelsea's Kurt Zouma - 13 years Zlatan's junior at 23 - was out for 14 months when he injured his ACL in a match against us.

The fact that a 36-year-old striker in the twilight of his career has returned to action earlier than his much younger peers, many of whom are in their peak, speaks volumes of his character. 

You wouldn't blame Zlatan if he had decided to call time on his career having suffered such misfortune (it's not like he has anything left to prove), but there was no way he was ever going to go out on crutches.

Having won the league with every club he's played for, his hunger for a Premier League winners medal remains undimmed - not to mention the prospect of that elusive Champions League prize.

It was his work ethic, professional attitude, dedication and unstinting determination that shone through during his rehabilitation and persuaded United to re-sign him - having initially released him. It wouldn't surprise me if he reversed his decision to come out of retirement to play for his beloved Sweden at next summer's World Cup finals.

Zlatan has had a turbulent year, but to go from the lowest moment of his career to the biggest stage of all in Russia would be truly remarkable - even for a man such as him. 


#DaretoZlatan


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