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Zlatan Ibrahimovic released by Manchester United after knee injury

Talismanic footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was released by Manchester United despite his impressive first season in English soccer. He scored 28 goals in 46 appearances for the Red Devils.

AP , London [Published on:10 Jun 2017, 11:10 AM IST]
 Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo of Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo of Manchester United shake handsPhoto:GETTY IMAGES

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been released by Manchester United after the striker's impressive first season in English soccer was curtailed by a serious knee injury that could keep him out until 2018.

The decision was announced on Friday by the Premier League, which published the list of players being retained and released by clubs.

The 35-year-old Ibrahimovic scored a team-high 28 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions last season, including a double in United's 3-2 win over Southampton in the English League Cup final.

What is set to be his last sighting in a United shirt came against Anderlecht in April in the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinals, during which the pony-tailed Ibrahimovic was carried off on a stretcher with ruptured cruciate ligaments. He is unlikely to return until January and was on crutches as United beat Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League final in Stockholm last month to qualify for the Champions League — a trophy he still hasn't won in his illustrious career.

The former Sweden international joined United as a free agent on a one-year deal, with the option of a second season. The extension had not been triggered by the time he got injured against Anderlecht.

Ibrahimovic will continue his rehabilitation from injury at the club, leaving open the possibility that United could sign the striker on a short-term deal for the second half of next season.

United already has a replacement striker in Marcus Rashford, and potentially Anthony Martial, while the English club has been linked with a move for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.

All top-flight clubs were required to notify the Premier League by May 29 about which players they were keeping, and which they would be letting go when their contracts expire on June 30.

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