MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Manchester United icon Eric Cantona is giving summer recruit Zlatan Ibrahimovic the green light to take his No. 7 shirt at Old Trafford.
Ibrahimovic signed a one-year deal on a free transfer earlier this month with the Red Devils and is expected to link up with his new teammates in the latter part of pre-season.
The former Sweden captain, who retired from international football after his country was eliminated in the group stage at Euro 2016, is expected to give the Manchester United players and supporters a huge lift for the coming season and Cantona has personally welcomed him to the club.
“I have a personal message for Zlatan: You decided to go red. It is the best choice you ever made,” said who was nicknamed ‘The King’ during his playing days with Manchester United.
“When you walk into the Theatre of Dreams. When you can feel the ghosts of the legends that have been here before. When you score that first goal right in front of Stretford End. When you hear the crowd chanting your name.
“When your heart beats so strong that it bursts out of your chest. When you feel that you will love them as much as they will love you. You will know, my friend, that you finally made it home.”
However, the Frenchman, who scored 82 goals in 185 appearances during four and a half years with the Premier League giants, noted: “Just one last thing, there can only be one King in Manchester.
“You can be the Prince if you want to. And the No 7 is yours if you are interested. That is my welcome gift to you…
“The King is gone! Long live the Prince!”
But although he appreciated Cantona’s message, Ibrahimovic says he’s aiming to be more than just a “Prince” at Old Trafford.
The 34-year-old made his personal assessment in his own way.
“I admire Cantona and I heard what he said,” Ibrahimovic is quoted as saying in Swedish paper Aftonbladet.
“But I won’t be King of Manchester. I will be God of Manchester.”
Currently, Memphis Depay, who signed with the club last summer, wears the No. 7 shirt at Manchester United, but many believes the icon number, which was also worn by Cristiano Ronaldo, is a bit of heavy weight for the Dutchman to carry.