Ibrahimovic facing prolonged spell on sidelines

LONDON • Zlatan Ibrahimovic's magical season with Manchester United is over, and there are fears his career might be too after the club announced he suffered a serious knee injury in Thursday's Europa League clash with Anderlecht.

United revealed that both the Swedish striker and Argentinian defender Marcos Rojo had suffered knee injuries in the same match.

"Detailed investigations on the injuries sustained by Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic during Thursday's Europa League match have confirmed significant knee ligament damage in both players that requires specialist opinions over the coming days," read the United statement on their website.

"Estimations of time to full recovery will only be possible once definitive treatment plans have been decided after these consultations."

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  • Goals scored by 35-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic in all competitions for Manchester United this season

But Old Trafford sources told The Times of London that Ibrahimovic tore both the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments of his right knee, raising fears that the 35-year-old will be forced to retire.

It is believed that United's top scorer this season will need at least nine months to recover. Experts within the club, however, suggest that he will not play again at the highest level again.

He has defied many doubters before though, particularly since joining United on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain last year.

He has scored 28 goals in all competitions, winning the League Cup and earning a PFA Player of the Year nomination.

According to The Mirror, United will offer him full medical support to save his career, but have withdrawn the one-year contract offer they made to him earlier in the season.

United will hope to convince Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann to join the club in the summer. Monaco's teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe and Everton's Romelu Lukaku are also on their radar.

Rojo's injury is also a serious body blow to United's depleted resources at the back, with both England international central defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling expected to be out till mid-May.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2017, with the headline 'Ibrahimovic facing prolonged spell on sidelines'. Print Edition | Subscribe