Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said his Manchester United future does not depend on the club qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
The 35-year-old, who took his United goals tally to 26 in 38 appearances for the club with a double in the 3-2 EFL Cup final win against Southampton on Sunday, has yet to commit to a 12-month extension to his current Old Trafford contract, which expires on June 30.
United have the option of adding another year to Ibrahimovic’s contract — a move that has been backed publicly by manager Jose Mourinho — but no agreement has yet been struck with the former Sweden captain.
Mourinho joked after Sunday’s cup win that United’s supporters should “spend all night” at Ibrahimovic’s house in an effort to persuade him to commit his future to the club, but despite refusing to confirm he will remain at Old Trafford beyond the summer, Ibrahimovic has made it clear that his decision will not hinge on Champions League qualification.
“No, it’s not about that [Champions League],” Ibrahimovic told reporters after the game at Wembley. “I came here and the club wasn’t in the Champions League, so it had nothing to do with the Champions League.
“So somebody made up a story that if they don’t qualify for the Champions League I will not extend. It has nothing to do with that.
“Let’s see what happens. I mean the moment, how I feel, the situation, we have another two months of the season to go, because according to many I could not do what I’ve been doing.”
Ibrahimovic’s contribution this season has surprised many, with the player arriving in England to a backdrop of doubts over whether he could succeed in the Premier League.
And he admits he has relished proving a point to those sceptics who questioned his suitability to the game in England.
“I am still doing what I have been doing every year, but some people won’t accept it or admit it because I don’t do it in their home ground,” he said.
“I have come to their home ground and now I am doing exactly the same thing what I have been doing all the years.
“I was not worried about age because I know what I am able to do. It is because I am here in England.
“After all these years, ‘he didn’t come and show himself here,’ but I came. And I came when people thought it was impossible for me to do what I am able to do. It feels good. I am enjoying it.
“This is my 32nd trophy. I’ve been in five different countries, I’ve been in the best clubs in the world and I’m repeating every year, what I am doing. This is another chapter in my career.”
Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, has said that he was ready to sign for another, unnamed, club last summer until his children convinced him to sign for Mourinho and United.
“I think in your career you have moments,” he said. “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.’
“But until then, my mind was not here. Then my kids started to bump my head and Jose called, then I am here.
“They [kids] are satisfied with what I am doing. But this time I am the boss, not them.”