(Reuters) - Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is determined to see how far he can push his “old” body when he makes his comeback for Manchester United after recovering from a career-threatening injury.
The 36-year-old Swede has not played since suffering a knee ligament injury in United’s Europa League quarter-final second leg match against Anderlecht at Old Trafford in April.
He watched his team mates lift the title in Europe’s second-tier competition and signed a one-year contract in the close season to prove his naysayers wrong.
“In the last years, when you’re thinking how many more years you are going to play, that is where you are hesitating. But the injury made it easy for me,” Ibrahimovic told former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry on Sky Sports Premier League.
”The challenge was that I never had a major injury, and all these people talking that ‘it’s over’ or ‘he’s too old’, all these doubts I had in my whole career... I had one target, and that is to come back and play the game.
“When that happens, it triggers me because it gives me energy and an objective. I‘m challenging what I am able to do, how far I can take my body.”
Ibrahimovic, who helped his club win the League Cup and the Community Shield and ended his debut season as the club’s top scorer with 28 goals in 46 appearances, stressed that his target was to help United win their 21st Premier League title.
”The target is the Premier League. That is my target to finish. Everything I started in the first season, we will finish in the second one.
”Everything I built up in the first season - obviously we won the three trophies - the ending for me was not the ending I wanted, or nobody wanted, especially after how the season went.
“I will walk out just as I came in, I will not walk out limping. I will walk out the way I want to walk out. Even if I have to walk on water I will do that also.”
Earlier this month United manager Jose Mourinho said he hoped Ibrahimovic would be back in action before the end of the year.
Second-placed United take on Tottenham Hotspur, who are level with them in the table with 20 points, at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar