Jose Mourinho: Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to leave Manchester United in summer
MANCHESTER, England -- Jose Mourinho said on Friday he expects Zlatan Ibrahimovic to leave Manchester United this summer, while the striker said a move to the United States would be "tempting."
Ibrahimovic, out of contract at the end of the season, has been linked with a move the U.S. with the LA Galaxy, and Mourinho admitted the 36-year-old will probably leave Old Trafford in May -- but insisted he does not know whether the former Sweden international will retire or continue playing.
"For Zlatan, we all think it's his last season at Manchester United and it will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop," he told a news conference on Friday.
"I think he has won the right of choosing his life, his future, such an amazing player and amazing career that only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons he could and should have with us."
Ibrahimovic, who scored 28 goals last season, has not featured since Boxing Day after suffering a knee injury just weeks after making his comeback from knee ligament surgery.
He has returned to training but is yet to make his comeback, though he told Swedish news outlet Expressen this week that he was optimistic he could be available in time to face Sevilla in the Champions League on March 13.
Mourinho also has not given up hope of seeing the former Barcelona and AC Milan forward, who has been restricted to just seven appearances this season, wear a United shirt again.
"This season has been really difficult for him," Mourinho added. "He's not injured. Does he feel totally happy, ready and convinced that he's in conditions to help the team in this moment? No, but he's such an honest guy and such a champion he only wants to be back with that feeling of I'm totally ready for it.
"So he's working hard and hopefully his evolution brings him to that level he wants to have a positive answer."
Sources told ESPN in late January that the Galaxy were inching closer to signing Ibrahimovic, with a potential deal "the furthest along it has ever been," after the Swede was also linked to MLS before signing with United in the summer of 2016.
Two weeks ago, sources said Ibrahimovic was house hunting in Los Angeles neighborhoods, though they cautioned he also hadn't ruled out staying in Europe, or even at United -- though Mourinho's comments appear to have closed that door for now.
And this week Ibrahimovic told Expressen in Stockholm that he wouldn't mind following countrymen like Seattle's Gustav Svensson to MLS, though he said nothing was certain.
"I did not know that several Swedes went to MLS. That means it's tempting to play in the United States," Ibrahimovic said, adding that his knee felt "good."
"Los Angeles is a nice city and I've been there a lot on vacation. It is laid back. There is nothing more to say. I would have told you if there was anything. I think there are rumours all the time [about my future]. When I play and when I do not play, there are rumours. That's good, that means I'm alive."
The MLS primary transfer remains open until May 1, and a secondary window opens on July 10.
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.