Manchester United look likely to be counting the cost of their extra time win over Anderlecht for some time, with news emerging on Friday evening of Zlatan Ibrahimovic being ruled out until next January.
The Swedish forward hurt himself by landing awkwardly during the Red Devils’ Europa League quarter-final tie against Anderlecht on Thursday, with scans revealed badly damaged knee ligaments – and ESPN reporting that the damage could keep the Swede out until 2018.
“I don’t think they are easy injuries, but I prefer to wait for all the tests to be done tomorrow,” manager Jose Mourinho explained after the match – which United won 2-1 to progress to the next round of games.
Marcos Rojo also suffered an injury in the match, having received a blow to his knee. And Mourinho was not in the least bit optimistic about his stars. “I want to wait. My feeling is not great for both,” he added. “I want to be optimistic, but I’m not. I can’t say any more than that, I am not a doctor.”
The news on Ibrahimovic could have a serious impact on the club’s long-term planning, with the club and Ibrahimovic still weighing up the option to extend his contract into next season.
To date, he had refused to commit his future to the club, even recently suggesting that they did not match his ambitions – and club officials failed to confirm to ESPN whether the club would be obliged to hand over an extra year’s salary in light of the injury.
— Ander Herrera (@AnderHerrera) April 21, 2017
If the reports are indeed correct, then this sets the forward up perfectly for his long-awaited introduction to MLS, as their season begins in early in the calendar year.
Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in 46 appearances for Mourinho’s side this season, and his absence – despite the brilliance of Marcus Rashford – could really hurt their Champions League hopes.
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