Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sir Alex Ferguson's brother used four words to describe a young Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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It's been a dream start for Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United.

In his first appearance for the Red Devils, the 34-year-old striker scored the winning goal against Leicester City to win the Community Shield at Wembley.

Since then, he's scored three goals in three Premier League games and extinguished any preconceptions that he isn't fit for England's top-flight.


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There's an argument to be made that Ibrahimovic has joined United too little too late considering his age but, as it turns out, Sir Alex Ferguson was alerted to the Swede's potential during his days at Ajax.

And the individual who gave Ferguson the scouting report? None other than his own brother, Martin, who used four words to describe Ibrahimovic.

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Speaking to the Mirror's Graham Hunter, Sir Alex's brother said: "He's phenomenally talented and I remember telling Alec after a scouting trip to Amsterdam that this was a 'player and a half'.

"But there’s a difference now. In those days his personal challenge was to beat every player on the pitch if he could. A pass was something he possibly wasn't quite so fond of.

"Right now there's absolutely no question that you can see his leadership. He brings people into the game, his sense of 'team' has changed completely - he's a leader, not a soloist.

"Get the ball to him near the box and he's pretty sensational - his talent, height, power and daring mean he'll continue to score goals despite coming to us late in his career."


Ferguson became the latest to compare Ibrahimovic to Eric Cantona, too.

"Like Eric Cantona, he just generates confidence around him, he oozes confidence," the Scot added.

"Cantona changed United in so many ways. He was a catalyst. Both of them have flicks and tricks but they are tough, mentally and physically, they control the tempo of a game - and they both set every-day standards in training.

"There won’t be a group like the Class of '92 in the United youth system now but just like those young players flocked to watch Eric in training I'd hope the youth-team guys - or the younger first-team guys - soak up all the influence possible from Zlatan."

So, all this begs the question of why Sir Alex didn't sign Ibrahimovic during his time at the Theatre of Dreams.


According to former number two Rene Meulensteen, the 74-year-old was wary of the negative impact Ibrahimovic might have had on his younger players.

"Maybe nine times out of ten he would not have made a decision like this," Meulensteen said.

"That is because of everything that Alex Ferguson wanted to do with youngsters - bring them through and improve them as players.

"But if he felt the situation was there for the one time out of ten, he would do it. Like bringing in Laurent Blanc, a player in his 30s, after Jaap Stam left. It’s a similar scenario."

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Alex Ferguson
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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