Zlatan Ibrahimovic sees Conor McGregor as his martial arts equivalent and is backing the UFC star to stun Floyd Mayweather in their Las Vegas super-fight.
One of the most eagerly-awaited contests in history will take place at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday evening, with star turns from MMA and boxing set to put their reputations on the line.
Ibrahimovic – fresh from penning a new one-year contract at OId Trafford – will be among the interested observers of the most lucrative fight in sport.
The 35-year-old Swede acknowledges that Mayweather, with a 49-0 record, enters the contest as a firm favourite, but he believes that the flamboyance and confidence of McGregor can shine through and deliver one of the greatest upsets of all time.
Ibrahimovic told SportBible : “Here you have a guy that has made a career out of many years and that is Mayweather.
“And then you have the other guy that has made a career in a short time, but he made himself a big name.
“Everything he said he did, and in this case, you have the MMA going into the boxing. Before, you had the boxing trying the MMA and he was outclassed immediately.
“Me as a huge fan of the MMA, I see this fight… I don’t know. It can go both ways. Either what people predict that Mayweather will win easy, which I don’t believe.
"I think it’s a hard fight. Conor has a power he can knock you out from every angle. And he has a confidence, like me.
"He is the Ibrahimovic of martial arts and I’m McGregor of the football world.
"So I see him with his confidence. He will win.
"Because he believes in himself so much and like I say, in everything you do the mental part is 50 per cent.
"If you have the mental, the head, you can do it and achieve. And then at the same time he’s skilful, he is the one he is. So I believe in Conor!”