Not long ago, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was Manchester United’s Europa League hero. Now, the Swedish legend is preparing to face the Red Devils in the same competition.
During his one full season at Old Trafford, the iconic striker scored five goals and produced four assists as United reached the final of Europe’s secondary competition.
Injury robbed Ibrahimovic of a place in the semi-final and the final. But his influence gave a United side in transition the winning mentality they needed to seal two trophies.
Now, the 39-year-old is hoping to fire AC Milan to European glory. And that means knocking United out in the process.
What makes the upcoming clash even more tantalising is the prospect of Ibrahimovic squaring up against another legendary striker in the form of Edinson Cavani.
The Uruguayan is now at Old Trafford and he will be hoping to end the season with two cups, just as Zlatan did back in 2017.
Age has not stopped the Swede scoring for fun in Milan, with 16 goals in just 20 appearances this season.
A point to prove
More injuries have blighted his campaign and he is yet to score in Europe. But United will need to be at their very best to keep him at bay in the last-16 tie.
Cavani has struggled with minor niggles of his own. Yet the 118-capped star has more than enough quality to fire United all the way.
Seven goals in a United shirt should just be the start for a player who has plenty left in the tank.
Whether Cavani is still firing when he is Ibrahimovic’s age, only time will tell. Yet this is one hell of a tie that pits two of the world’s best ever forwards against each other.
The Swede will no doubt have plenty to say in the buildup to the clash. But Cavani will do all his talking on the field and United fans will be hoping he comes out on top.
Given their history at former club Paris Saint-Germain, this has all the hallmarks of a classic in the making.
As reported by the Sun last year, the United strikers past and present did not have a good relationship off the pitch. Only one of them can come out on top next month, so watch this space.