'I feel like a 10' - Ibrahimovic hints at new role at Man Utd

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - cropped
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The Swedish hitman is thought to be on the verge of a return to first-team action at Old Trafford but may be used in an unfamiliar role

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has suggested that he could play a different role when he makes his Manchester United return.

The 36-year-old has been out of action since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the Europa League quarter-final victory over Anderlecht in April, but Jose Mourinho has hinted he could return before the end of 2017.

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Ibrahimovic led the line for Mourinho's side last year, supported by a rotating cast of attacking midfielders.

Romelu Lukaku took the Swede's position and number nine shirt following his arrival from Everton, but Ibrahimovic has said that his switch to number 10 is a natural fit for him and could well herald a change in the way he fits into the side.

"To me, the No.10 is the star," he said in a promotional video for Volvo. "The one who makes the difference, gets noticed, wins the matches and is the leader. And I see myself in that position but it is not something that is given to you, it is just something you are, that's just the way it is.

"To be honest, it is like a trigger for me coming back from that injury because I wore the No.10 in the Swedish national team and PSG. I would have worn it at Inter but I soon moved to Barcelona. I wanted it in Milan but took another number out of respect. In Ajax, I didn't have it.

"I feel like a ten and I stand for No.10. It will go down in history that I always had No.10."

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Speaking about his knee injury, Ibrahimovic added that it was so painful it felt like he was swallowing his own tongue.

"I tried to take down a ball with my chest and timed the landing wrong," he said. "I stuck my legs out and landed completely wrong. The leg went backwards and then it was pulled out. I have never been hurt, but then I felt I swallowed my tongue. It was a strange feeling that I had never known before.

"I told myself it's just a bang up. But when I got up, I felt that the leg was not in balance. In the locker room they started to check the leg but without an X-ray it was impossible to say exactly what the problem was. It turned out to be a cruciate ligament injury."