Zlatan Ibrahimovic apologises to Manchester United fans for not signing for club sooner
"They'd have seen a different lion..."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has admitted he feels sorry for Manchester United supporters for not seeing him at his best during his time at Old Trafford.
The former Swedish international was 34 when he joined United on a free from Paris Saint-Germain two summers ago having already plied his trade at some of the continent's top clubs.
Although he finished his first and only full season with United as their top scorer, a knee injury suffered in the Europa League quarter-finals against Anderlecht brought his campaign to a premature end.
Having failed to extend his one-year contract with the club at the time of the injury, he was initially released in the summer. He continued to use the club's facilities during his recovery and was eventually re-signed by United on a short-term contract.
Ibrahimovic only managed to score once more for the club after his return, and moved to Los Angeles Galaxy before the end of last season.
"I feel sorry for the fans - if they'd seen me younger, they'd have seen a different lion," he told ManUtd.com.
"For the Premier League, it would have been dangerous, as I would have eaten them for breakfast; instead, I took them for lunch. But I came: they wanted me, I gave them me and I took over. Been there and done that.
"I would need more time to explain my feelings but let's start with a big thanks to everybody - what they did was amazing and I hope they are as happy as I am."
Ibrahimovic signed off by paying tribute to United's supporters for the way they backed him - both before and after his injury.
"I gave as much as I could for as long as I could; when I got injured, I got support in a different way. They always stood behind me and my team-mates.
"They are special: everywhere I see red, I think about United. It will remain in history and my career; when I look back at my time with United, I will do it with a smile. I wish them all the best in the future."
Ibrahimovic has scored 12 times since his move to Major League Soccer. He recently met up with United as they trained in Los Angeles as part of their preseason tour.