Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Zlatan Ibrahimovic for returning to fitness so soon ahead of schedule at Manchester United.
The Swede suffered severe damage to the cruciate and meniscus in his right knee in April and, having undergone surgery, was expected to return in either late December or January 2018.
And Mourinho was quick to note how impressive it was for the striker to make such a miraculously early return to action.
“Zlatan last season we played with him every minute almost until he was injured, this season we learn how to play without him but he’s a very important player for us and of course welcome back,” he said.
“Of course, incredible personality to fight such an important injury, we were all saying in 2017 he will be back but one thing is 31 Dec 2017 and another thing is mid-November.
“He made a full recovery, now you cannot expect him to play 90 mins or consecutive matches like he did all his career, now he needs time to be back for his level, his fitness, his confidence, everything, his sharpness, but by the clinical point of view it is fantastic to be ready.”
I’m sorry, but this literally makes no sense. To recover from a severe knee ligament injury in the space of just seven months at the age of 36 isn’t just astonishing; it just doesn’t happen. Not even the best athletes in the world can do that.
Even in convalescence, Zlatan has emphatically stood out from the rest. He has slaughtered his recovery process in the same way he has slaughtered defenders for over a decade.
And so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at all of this. Ever since arriving in England, the veteran has defied anybody expressing a measure of doubt over his ability, and the early signs suggest that something similar is on the menu this time around.