Zlatan Ibrahimovic revealed that his main motive in signing for Manchester United was to prove his “haters” wrong by conquering the Premier League.
The Swedish striker arrived at Old Trafford in 2016 on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain and on the verge of becoming 35 years old.
Due to this, questions were naturally raised over the kind of impact Ibrahimovic could make at United at that stage of his career.
But the Swede quickly set about proving doubters wrong by netting 28 goals in 48 appearances for his debut campaign before suffering serious ligament damage in his right knee during a Europa League match in April 2017 against Anderlecht.
Amid struggles to regain full fitness from the setback, Ibrahimovic left Old Trafford in February 2018 in favour of a move to MLS at LA Galaxy.
“My challenge was, at the age I was, coming to England, where I had years of everybody was saying I wasn’t good enough,” Ibrahimovic told the club website.
“I like those things because they trigger me. They give me adrenaline.
“After three months, all of them were eating their own words. I needed new haters because all the old ones became my new fans!
“Wherever I went before United, I won, and it was my pleasure that it happened again in England. Winning is in my DNA, I need to win – that’s my mentality. I hate losing. I’m not a bad loser, but I hate it and I love to win.
“I said we would win and we won two big trophies. That speaks for itself.
“That whole first season at United was fantastic. Everything was. I really enjoyed it. The family was happy, everybody was happy, the club took care of me and made it really easy for me. I just needed to turn up, put on my football boots and perform.
“When I came to United and I said I would conquer England, people were laughing at me. I wasn’t joking.”
The one and only won the treble in his only full campaign at United in the Community Shield, Carabao Cup and the Europa League.
And Ibrahimovic also paid tribute to the Red Devils’ supporters.
He added: “The United fans are amazing. I’m not just saying that because I played for United. I know now because I’ve been on their side and I know the feeling they give you.
“They really appreciated what I did and they were thankful. That is the best credit a player can get because when you do something and you get that response from the fans, it’s amazing.
“They are 50 per cent of everything we do. Imagine if you played in empty stadiums… you would not play.
“In Old Trafford, it was always full. Always. In every away game they always showed up, always supported.”
Ibrahimovic managed 22 goals and seven assists in 26 MLS games for Galaxy in 2018 and had been strongly linked with a return to AC Milan in the January transfer window.