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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 24 March, 2018

'It's his last season at Man Utd': Mourinho expects Ibrahimovic departure

The Portuguese says the likelihood is that the former Sweden striker will depart the Red Devils in the summer.

JOSE MOURINHO SAYS the decision over the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic rests with the player, but the veteran striker is expected to leave Manchester United at the end of his contract.

Injuries have restricted Ibrahimovic to a single Premier League start this term, in the home Boxing Day draw against Burnley, during which he was replaced at half-time.

Ibrahimovic has not played since that game, although the 36-year-old has indicated he may come out of international retirement to play for Sweden at the World Cup.

Mourinho handed Ibrahimovic a one-year deal in August despite his knee problems and the United manager conceded the forward is expected to depart at the end of the season, with a move to MLS mooted.

“For Zlatan, we all think it’s his last season at Manchester United and it will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop,” said Mourinho.

“I think he won the right of choosing his life and his future – he’s such an amazing player with such an amazing career that only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons that he could, and should, have with us.

“This season has been really difficult for him. Is he injured? No, he’s not injured. Does he feel totally happy and totally ready and totally convinced that he’s in the condition to help the team at this moment? No.

“But he’s such an honest guy and such a champion that he only wants to be back with that feeling of ‘I’m totally ready for it’. He’s working hard and, hopefully, his evolution brings him to that level that he wants to have a positive answer.”

Ibrahimovic, who has been training with United, is not expected to play in Monday’s Premier League match away to Crystal Palace, but the striker thinks he could be back in action soon.

“I feel good, I’ve been training with the team for two weeks and it feels good,” Ibrahimovic told Swedish media.

“I need to practice, exercise and play to put the movements in my head.

“Get more match-like situations because I’ve been away for quite some time now.”

Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind will also miss the trip to Selhurst Park.

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