Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearly quit football back in 1996 while at Malmo for an amazing reason

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After being released back in June by Manchester United, the Premier League's most successful club made a spectacular U-turn in August as they decided to re-sign the Swedish striker on a new one-year deal.

The legendary centre-forward was expected to be out until early 2018 with a serious knee injury picked up against Anderlecht, but he appears to be on the road to a much speedier recovery.

In fact, Zlatan could be gracing English football pitches as early as November, with Jose Mourinho eager to get him back to full fitness in order to keep Romelu Lukaku as sharp as possible.

During his debut campaign with United, the Swede was imperious, notching 28 goals in all competitions and virtually dragging them to League Cup glory on his own, scoring a brace in the final against Southampton.

Success has followed him wherever he has been, from Ajax to both Milan clubs and the likes of Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Even during his one-year stint with Barcelona, he was pretty good but sadly, for the only time in his career, he was defeated by a better player; Lionel Messi.

However, his two decades of success could have been so different back in 1996 when he was just a 15-year-old in Malmo's youth team.


Amazingly, Zlatan was enduring a crisis of confidence on the pitch and viewed a life of working on the docks and that sense of adventure more appealing.

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final

That was until his youth coach Johnny Gyllensjo stepped in and convinced the broken teenage star that he could be one of the best.


"He was not so keen to play football anymore," the 64-year-old told MEN Sport. "As an amateur psychologist, I talked to him. I think he really liked to score some goals and he couldn't do it and this was a problem for him.

"We could talk to each other and we had great respect for each other, and he started to move on in Malmo and play in the team. And so we are glad that we have a little bit of an influence in his career."


Yes, if you can believe it, football's most egotistical entity almost abandoned the game because he didn't believe in his own ability.

Zlatan still commands a hero-like status at Malmo after he fired them to back-to-back league titles during his time at the club.

He just loves trophies.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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