Football

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho has something special planned for Ibrahimovic if they win the Europa League

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It's a scary thought for Manchester United fans just where they would be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goals and assists this season.

Before rupturing his cruciate knee ligament against Anderlecht last month, the Swede had scored 28 goals and set up a further nine in all competitions - 37 in total.

Beyond Ibrahimovic, Juan Mata is United's second top goalscorer on 10, while Marcus Rashford has the same but with one less assist (3).

Take away Ibrahimovic's 28 goals and nine assists and United would be in big trouble right now, even if they would have found goals from elsewhere.

Without the 35-year-old, Jose Mourinho's men might not have won the Community Shield or the EFL Cup. Nor perhaps would they be in the Europa League semi-finals.

The Red Devils are also still in contention for the top four. They're currently fifth and and one point behind Manchester City in fourth, but Ibrahimovic has contributed almost half of their 51 league goals.

His importance cannot be overstated, then. Ibrahimovic's injury is a huge blow to United and because of what he's done for them, they're willing to help him through his recovery.

According to the Daily Mail, United paid for the striker to receive medical treatment in America recently and have also told him he can stay at Carrington to use their medical resources for as long as he needs.

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Class - but that's not all. The Times' Paul Hirst has relayed quotes from Mourinho talking about how he plans to recognise Ibrahimovic's efforts this season.

According to United's manager, if they win the Europa League, he wants Ibrahimovic to lift the trophy with whomever is captain that day.

Mourinho said: "I hope we get to the final so he can get to go to his stadium and collect the cup with the captain."

The 2016/17 Europa League final will be staged at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, which is the capital of Ibrahimovic's native Sweden.

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Lifting the trophy in his home country would be a special moment for the veteran striker, not to mention with a club he clearly adores.

Of course, United must get to the final first, but they'll be spurred on knowing Ibrahimovic had successful surgery on his right knee earlier this week.

"Fixed, done and stronger. Once again thank you for the support. We will enjoy my game together soon," is what Zlatan wrote on Instagram post-surgery.

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Topics:
Football
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain

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