EFL Cup final hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he would never have signed for Manchester United if his children and Jose Mourinho had not persuaded him to.
The Swede scored United’s opener and winner in a 3-2 victory over Southampton at Wembley on Sunday with his boss Mourinho joking that supporters should “go to the door of his house” to encourage him to stay at Old Trafford for another season, with his future unclear beyond the end of this campaign.
Ibrahimovic’s brace against Saints took his goal tally for the season to 26 and his career trophy haul to 30 – figures that could yet improve as United go for further glory in the Europa League and FA Cup, with the Premier League title seemingly beyond them.
Ibrahimovic’s deal expires in the summer and the striker recently claimed the requirements built into his one-year extension clause have been fulfilled, but suggested he had yet to trigger it.
He revealed on Sunday though that without the influence of Mourinho, and his kids badgering him, he would never have gone to United in the first place.
Asked about his plans for next season, Ibrahimovic said: “Let’s see what happens.
“I think in your career you have moments. I did not come to England before because it was not the moment.
“I came when I thought it was the moment and the moment was there.
“If we speak about the coach, England, the Premier League, the club has to thank him because he called me and asked me to come here, otherwise I would not have been here.
“Even my two kids wanted to see me play at United. I had my mind somewhere else. Before, everything was coming on top of the table, then Jose called.
“I have a special relationship with him. When he called it was basically, ‘tell me what number I should wear’.
“My mind was not here. Then my kids started to bump my head and Jose called, then I am here.”
Ibrahimovic insists he is now “the boss” over his future rather than his children, but gave precious little away in regards to this summer or last year’s alternative destination.
He did, though, insist his United future does not rest on Champions League qualification and talked freely on other subjects.
Ibrahimovic says it is “special” to be confounding his doubters in England and was loquacious when it came to his fitness level.
“I look good,” the 35-year-old said.
“I know I look good. I feel fresh. I feel good. I feel like an animal. I feel like a lion. I feel in good shape. I train hard.
“People who know me from the locker room know that I train very hard. I have an objective every season I go into.
“And to reach that objective I need to train hard and I need to suffer when I train – that is how I achieve what I achieve.
“I’m from the old school where they work hard and get what they get from doing the hard work, not like the new school where it is easy to get what you want.”