Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come out in support of captain Wayne Rooney, who has been under severe criticism for the last couple of months. The 31-year-old recently became Manchester United’s record goalscorer in Europe after coming up with the opening goal against Fenerbahce in the 4-0 win. It is a goal that might spark Rooney’s return to form and eventually put him back on a path to the starting line-up.
Rooney was recently criticised for going beyond the professional events of the footballer during the recent international break. This sparked a furious statement from Rooney, who is often expected to be at his best behaviour as the captain of the England national team. The England striker, though, felt that there was a complete lack of respect from the media as it was an invasion into his private life. Rooney is reported to have been up until the early hours partying during the international break.
Ibrahimovic, who has himself been criticised for unethical behaviour in the past, said that it was an invasion into the private life of Rooney and that it should have never been made such a big deal. As cited by Sky Sport, hee said:
“I don’t know what has happened, I didn’t even ask him because it’s not important for me and I’m 100 per cent sure the media doesn’t know what really happened.
“I think we should appreciate him for the player he is, what he did. I don’t see many players from England who have had the same career as him. I feel a little bit sorry of the situation because we should show more respect for him.
“Everybody wants to make a little thing a big thing. I’m used to it from Sweden, I don’t mind it.”
The Swedish striker came up with the assist for Rooney, who then later provided the favour to Juan Mata. Jesse Lingard scored another goal for United as they managed to end the night quite comfortably.
It is probably the best United have played in recent months and it brings them a lot of confidence going into the home match against West Ham this weekend. After the spectacular game, Rooney is likely to return to the starting line-up. He is still hoping to surpass Sir Bobby Charlton as the record goalscorer at United. Only recently, the striker was criticised for not taking penalties which would have taken him closer towards the record. On Thursday night, though, fans witnessed a glimpse of the old Rooney as he was unselfish and keen to score himself.
Jose Mourinho later praised the achievements of the England striker by saying that it is excellent for United that the club is getting Rooney back on form at the best possible time. He reckons that this kind of form could help United go on and win the Europa League. As a club which has lifted numerous honours including three Champions League medals of late, the Europa League is a trophy that is still missing from the club’s trophy cabinet. Mourinho thinks that it is a season where United can hope to win the trophy after recovering their qualification hopes with this victory. Speaking after the game, he said:
“It is an amazing achievement obviously and will be even better if he can help to bring to the club the only competition they have never won in their history, which is the Europa League. His performance was like the team – good, solid.”
Rooney has scored only two goals since August and both have come in the Europa League.