MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, July 30- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has brought in his own physiotherapist to help him stay in shape for Manchester United.
Italian Dario Fort has worked closely with Ibrahimovic throughout his career while at AC Milan and Paris St Germain where the two became firm friends.
Fort has cut an imposing figure around United’s Carrington training complex, as he stands even taller than 6ft 5ins Ibrahimovic.
It is clear though that the two have a special bond with the 34-year-old Swedish striker trusting Fort’s personalized fitness regime. Indeed the longest Ibrahimovic has been injured was a 46 day spell in 2014-15.
Fort arrived in Manchester last week and is helping United’s new number nine to settle in. He has moved his family into the city centre’s Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, the former Free Trade Hall, where Winston Churchill delivered one of his most famous speeches and the Sex Pistols started the punk era.
Ibrahimovic says his first days’ training gave him ‘positive vibes’. He said: ‘They seem to be good guys, quality players, they train very hard and, during the training, are very focused.
‘The coach, he is direct, he is concrete, he says what he wants and the players are adapting. So there are only positive things.
Ibrahimovic, who turns 35 in October, told MUTV: ‘I believe in working hard. Not only in games but even in training. The way you train is the way you play in the games – that’s my philosophy.
‘Working hard, training hard and feeling good. Then you need to get the rhythm by playing games.’
Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic has been praised by United boss Jose Mourinho for creating a friendly atmosphere in the dressing room.
‘With Zlatan you may see someone with a big ego, big self-esteem, but it is in a positive way. When he is with the group, he is humble and friendly to everyone — integration is good,’ Mourinho told MUTV.
‘Zlatan is a fantastic player and, immediately in training, we could feel what I call ‘functional empathy’ – people looking to him, him looking to connect with other players.
‘He is an amazing link player, an amazing player. He could be anything on the pitch, not just a goalscorer.’
Ibrahimovic and his United team-mates arrived in Sweden ahead of Saturday’s friendly with Galatasaray. But one player almost did not make it to Gothenburg.
Midfielder Daley Blind left his passport behind and was late boarding the flight – but he did eventually manage to get on 15 minutes later than his team-mates and join them on the flight to Sweden.