Marouane Fellaini has been discussing his relationship with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United, labelling the Swede as a “great pro”.
The 35-year-old, who arrived on a free last summer, has claimed 28 goals under Jose Mourinho so far this season, but it remains unclear whether he will remain at Old Trafford for another season.
He suffered what looked like a hyperextended knee injury during Man United’s 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter final and could be out for some time.
Fellaini, speaking to Belgian magazine SPORT, was quick to make note of the important influence commanded by the Swede in the dressing room this season.
“We came back from holiday at the same time and four of us trained away from the rest of the squad for a week,” he said.
“I knew him like everyone else, what he could say, what people said about him, but I immediately liked him.
“He’s completely different to what is said about him. Ibra, he’s class. Now that he’s approaching the end of his career, people start understanding he plays a role, but he plays a good role, and he’s a great pro.”
I’ll be honest: when I saw Zlatan – usually adept at running off injuries that would leave most players out for a few weeks – gingerly hobble off at Old Trafford following an unfruitful 90 minutes against Anderlecht, it felt as if that would be the last we ever saw of him in a United shirt.
Pessimistic, I know, but the way he fell on his knee and lay there afterwards made me fear the worst. Supporters will be desperate to see the Swede return in time for that promises to be a tantalising crescendo to the season.