Abracadabra from Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Zlatan scores with overhead kick on his United debut, hints at magical times ahead

GOTHENBURG (Sweden) • Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes "something big" is happening at Manchester United and feels it will become even more interesting if they sign Paul Pogba.

The English Premier League giants have been chasing the signature of their former academy graduate for some time but negotiations with Juventus over a potentially record-breaking deal have not concluded. But Ibrahimovic, who moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer this close season after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, is already looking forward to the arrival of the France midfielder.

"We have something big going on," he told the Swedish television station Kanal 5 after United's 5-2 friendly win over the Turkish side Galatasaray in Gothenburg on Saturday, in which Ibrahimovic scored in his home country on his first appearance for the club.

"It looks very interesting. Let's see if Pogba will also (come) then it will be even more interesting."

The 34-year-old joined the first team only last week following his arrival this month after being given extra time off after Euro 2016, where Sweden were eliminated in the group stage. The striker took only 195 seconds to score his first goal in a United shirt.

Wayne Rooney scored twice in the second half but it was his Swedish team-mate who stole the headlines. Ibrahimovic, like Rooney, David de Gea, Morgan Schneiderlin and Anthony Martial, was making his first appearance of pre-season and was on target in typical style.

Antonio Valencia's cross was met with an acrobatic overhead kick that bounced up off the turf to beat the Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera high to his left.

Sinan Gumus and Bruma scored before half-time to put the Turkish side in front. But after Ibrahimovic went off at the break, Rooney struck twice, once from the penalty spot. Marouane Fellaini headed a fourth before Juan Mata turned in Michael Carrick's cross 16 minutes from time to complete the scoring.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Adnan Januzaj were not included in the travelling party to Sweden and are set to be the first casualties of Jose Mourinho's clear-out.

Of the players who did travel, Mourinho gave most of them a chance to impress, with the Portuguese making 11 changes in the second half against Galatasaray.

Asked if the players who came on showed that they want to be in his plans, Mourinho told MUTV: "If they were not in my plans, I would not give them one single minute. I would not keep them in my squad."

The United manager also admitted his players are behind schedule in their preparations after their friendly against Manchester City in Beijing was called off because of a poor pitch.

"We lost a week in China and some of the boys that played today had trained two days," he said. "There's not a lot of time to work, to change, to make a couple of new ideas and new principles of play. Everything is step by step and the reality is we don't have this time."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Abracadabra from Ibrahimovic'. Print Edition | Subscribe