Zlatan Ibrahimovic is already proving himself to be a very important player for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, just as everyone expected. However, the 34-year-old could soon enough earn himself legendary status if he can be the difference for the Red Devils this weekend.
It is the first Manchester derby of the season for United and City, and with Pep Guardiola without striker Sergio Aguero, who has been suspended for three games for elbowing West Ham's Winston Reid in their last match, the Red Devils will look to take advantage.
Ibrahimovic and Guardiola's troubled relationship at Barcelona is no secret, and the Spaniard's relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho is far from rosy either. However, despite the pre-match talk surrounding Mourinho and Guardiola, former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore believes Ibrahimovic will be the key difference and earn United the points.
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The former Sweden international made a name for himself with Ajax, Juventus and Inter Milan, before joining Barcelona. However, Guardiola made it clear that Ibrahimovic was not an important part of his plans at the Camp Nou, for which the Swede has not forgiven him.
And it is for that reason that Collymore believes the former PSG striker can be the key man for Mourinho's men this weekend, as the 34-year-old attempts to get one over Guardiola.
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"While Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney all have the ability to do something special on any given day, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the man who holds the key to this clash." said Collymore in his column for The Mirror.
"When you factor in that his situation with Guardiola isn’t exactly wine and roses either after their time together at Barcelona, you can understand why the 34-year-old will be champing at the bit to make his mark.
"The prospect of rubbing his old manager’s nose in it will perhaps hold the most significance to a player who, a bit like me, falls into the ‘Elephants never forget’ category."
Ibrahimovic feeling bitterness
While Ibrahimovic's days at Barcelona are ones that he will most likely savour the least, when he looks back on his glamorous football career, the striker went on to continue to prove his quality with the likes of AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
"For a player who has scored goals for so many top clubs to have been so publicly rejected by Barca, there will undoubtedly be feelings of bitterness towards Guardiola." Collymore added.
But not only has the Swede gone on to prove his worth in both Italy and France, since his two-year spell at the Camp Nou, he has also made a fast start to life at Old Trafford, in which he has netted three Premier League goals in three appearances.
Guardiola the enemy
And while Collymore senses Ibrahimovic will be key in claiming what he believes will be a "narrow home win", Mourinho will also be just as keen to see the striker, who he also worked with during his days at Inter Milan, get one over Guardiola.
Neither the Spaniard or Mourinho saw eye to eye during their spells in charge of bitter rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, and their rivalry is set to be given new lease of life this weekend, in what could prove to be a crucial match in the title race.
Will Zlatan Ibrahimovic be the difference for Manchester United this weekend, against Manchester City? Give your opinion in the comment box below.
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