Paul Pogba insists Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still a “leader” for Manchester United, despite the striker’s contract expiring at the end of last season.
Jose Mourinho has said “the door is still open” for Ibrahimovic to play again for United this coming season after his one-year deal was not renewed.
The 35-year-old sustained “significant knee ligament damage” during United’s 2-1 Europa League win over Anderlecht in April, and although he is not expected to be fit until the Christmas period, Pogba is adamant the Swede still plays a big role at Old Trafford.
“Obviously Zlatan is a leader, always a big leader, and he’s a big leader because he’s still in the team,” Pogba said. “Even though he’s not playing he’s a leader outside of the pitch.
“I’ve been playing for one season, I came here to hopefully be a leader in the team. That’s not the objective but that’s how you should be. I’ve been here, we won, and you want to grow up as a player and a leader as well.
“I can learn from him, from [Michael] Carrick, all the other players and become a leader.”
Pogba returned to Manchester United for a world-record fee in 2016, four years after leaving the club – then managed by Sir Alex Ferguson – for Juventus on a free transfer.
The 25-year-old admits he left Serie A champions Juve knowing he would be limiting his opportunities to play at the highest level, but believes Mourinho’s side are returning to the United of old.
“It was a big challenge,” Pogba added. “I knew I wouldn’t play Champions League, I think to myself I want Manchester United to be the Manchester United as they were back in the day and we are on the way.
“We won three trophies last season, so I hope that we are going to continue that way and improve.”
Credit: Sky Sports