Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has little doubt Zlatan Ibrahimovic will fight to save his career, but was unable to shed any light on the Swede's future at Old Trafford.
Ibrahimovic consequently faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines and his injury problems have cast further doubt over his future at United, with his existing contract due to expire at the end of the season.
The former Paris Saint-Germain striker already stated that he will not retire following his knee injury and Mourinho has now also backed the attacker to overcome his physical problems, although he does not know whether Ibrahimovic will stay at United.
"The future is a big surgery and a long period of recovering. But the future is also in the hands of a very strong guy, mentally very strong, who wrote immediately on social media that he will stop [playing] when he wants, not when people think," Mourinho said at a news conference Wednesday.
"It looks for me that he is not going to give up and he is going to fight. I am really pleased with that because this is the Zlatan I know. He fought all his life and that is what I told him — 'you have fought all your life since you were born.' I do not see a reason not to fight.
"We think he is in fabulous hands and [he needs to] recover from the injury and prepare himself mentally for the next step. I think the next step will always be something that he really wants, which is something I was saying before the injury in the period of doubt about his future; I have always said that.
"He is much more important than myself and what I want — it is what he wants. I always want the players to be happy and to choose their future, and this is what I think is going to happen.
"Now, before such an important surgery, I think it is a waste of time to speak about what is next."