Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Move over Cantona, I want to be God of Manchester

Paris St Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic addresses at a news conference at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told Eric Cantona that becoming the prince of Manchester United is not enough. He wants to be “God” of Old Trafford.

Cantona, nicknamed “The King’ during his time at United, sent a tongue-in-cheek message to the Swede that Ibrahimovic would not be able to wear his crown but could still become prince at United after joining the club on a free transfer.

However, the 34-year-old responded in typically bullish fashion. “I admire Cantona and I heard what he said,” Ibrahimovic is quoted in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “But I won’t be King of Manchester. I will be God of Manchester.”

Cantona, who scored 82 goals in 185 appearances during a four-and-a-half-year spell at United, welcomed Ibrahimovic to the club and even offered him the No7 shirt in a video for Eurosport.

Cantona said: “I have a personal message for Zlatan: You decided to go red. It is the best choice you ever made.

“When you walk into the Theatre of Dreams. When you can feel the ghosts of the legends that have been here before. When you score that first goal right in front of Stretford End. When you hear the crowd chanting your name.

“When your heart beats so strong that it bursts out of your chest. When you feel that you will love them as much as they will love you. You will know, my friend, that you finally made it home.

“Just one last thing, there can only be one King in Manchester. You can be the prince if you want to. And the No7 is yours if you are interested. That is my welcome gift to you… The King is gone! Long live the prince!”

United head out to China on their pre-season tour on Tuesday but Ibrahimovic may be left behind by José Mourinho, with the manager considering handing the striker his friendly debut against Galatasaray on 30 July or Everton on 3 August.

Sweden were knocked out of Euro 2016 on 22 June. Under Fifa rules all players must have a minimum three-week rest after a tournament. This means Ibrahimovic is available to take part in the eight-day tour of China but it is understood Mourinho may not take the player who turns 35 in October. The manager wants to give Ibrahimovic, who is on holiday in America, extra rest before the Premier League season.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Mark Dobson, for The Guardian on Monday 18th July 2016 23.29 Europe/London

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