MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Veteran Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he is delighted his compatriots will get to see the moment ‘everyone has been waiting for’, namely his debut for new club Manchester United in his homeland on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic will lead United’s frontline in the pre-season friendly with Turkish side Galatasaray in Gothenburg, Sweden, after missing the club’s trip to China.
Ibrahimovic, who has had to wait till the end of his career to play in the Premier League having won titles in Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands, said it pleased him his compatriots would be the ones to see him don the United shirt for the first time since arriving on a free transfer from French champions Paris Saint Germain.
“Everybody has been waiting for that moment,” a typically immodest Ibrahimovic told the club’s television station MUTV referring to his first appearance.
“There has been a lot of talk and to make my debut in my country will feel great.
“I think the fans are waiting for me to come back and they are waiting to enjoy not only me, but the team as well.
“Hopefully, we can give them a good game and, at the same time, we are in the preparation.
“We need to keep focused, to build up the physical part and the conditioning part but we will give them what they want.”
Ibrahimovic, 34, who retired from international football following a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign in France, said he had been impressed with the first few days of training under United manager Jose Mourinho, for whom he played at Inter Milan.
“Positive vibes. They seem to be good guys, quality players, they train very hard and, during the training, are very focused,” said Ibrahimovic.
“The coach (Mourinho)— he is direct, he is concrete, he says what he wants and the players are adapting. So there are only positive things.”
Ibrahimovic, who scored 156 goals in 180 appearances for PSG, said he didn’t feel his age because of his attitude to training and playing.
“I believe in working hard,” he said. “Not only in games but even in training.
“The way you train is the way you play in the games — that’s my philosophy. Working hard, training hard and feeling good. Then you need to get the rhythm by playing games.”