No Benjamin Button after all? Mourinho doubts Ibrahimovic will improve

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The Manchester United striker feels he is getting better with age after his PFA nomination but the manager is more realistic

Jose Mourinho feels it is unlikely Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic can improve at the age of 35.

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Ibrahimovic has enjoyed a superb debut season in English football, scoring 28 goals in all competitions – including a match-winning double against Southampton in the EFL Cup final.

The former Inter, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star was one of six players nominated for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award this week and likened himself to the fictional character Benjamin Button, claiming he feels better and younger with age.

Mourinho had a less fantastical take on things when he spoke Sky's Soccer Saturday programme, and stated Ibrahimovic maintaining his current level next season would be excellent if he chooses to remain at United.

"It's difficult to be better, everybody knows that at a certain age it is about stability - to stay at the top for a maximum the player can," he said.

"When you are 26, 27 you think about time to develop and time to improve.

"When you get to 34 and 35 it is not about improving. It is about the physical condition and the mental strength to stay at the top as much as possible

"If Zlatan manages to keep these levels for the next season it would be great for him."

Ibrahimovic signed a one-year deal at United with an option to extend for a second season but is yet to announce whether he will stay at Old Trafford.