Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that he came to the Premier League for a new challenge, rather than taking the money on offer in the Chinese Super League.
Ibrahimovic, 35, came to England on a free transfer last summer after leaving Paris Saint-Germain and, despite a glittering career, the Swedish superstar insists he had something to prove.
“It’s a challenge. A challenge to change the history of a club which already has a great history. In order to raise my level a little, I had to come to England and show to everyone who I am,” he told former Juventus, Milan and England manager Fabio Capello in an interview with FOXSports Italia.
“It’s a different challenge that I like because I’m assuming even more responsibility. If I can win in a situation like this, it means I’ve done my job well.
“Plus I already knew [Jose] Mourinho and what he wants. He motivates you, he tells you things to your face if you’re not doing well and must give more. He works you so that when you are on the pitch, you give 200 percent, and this is what I needed at my age.
“I could’ve gone to China and put my feet up, but I need a challenge that will motivate me. If you can’t keep up with a certain rhythm here, then it’s hard. This league attracts a lot of attention, but it’s beautiful because there are always lots of fans. You can be leading 3-0 and then concede a goal and the atmosphere can change everything.
“There isn’t one dominant club here, like Juventus in Italy, PSG in France, Bayern Munich in Germany or Barcelona in Spain. Here it is the team who make the fewest mistakes who win.
“I train every day and Mourinho has given me a fantastic programme. I like training.
“Next year? The situation is I’ve signed here for a year with an option for another year. I don’t have many years left as a footballer and I want to enjoy myself, I want to make the difference. I want to quit while I’m at the top too. I don’t know what will happen. If I can still make a difference, it’s down to my teammates.”