Manchester United’s evergreen striker believes he is football’s answer to the fictional character who reverses the ageing process.
At 35, the Swede’s powers are showing no signs of waning. He broke the deadlock after 31 minutes against David Moyes’ doomed side with his 17th League goal for the club and set up Marcus Rashford late on after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had stretched the lead just 46 seconds after the break.
The win enabled United to leapfrog Arsenal – for 24 hours at least – into fifth and keeps alive their hopes of a top-four finish.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he was "born old and I will die young"
Ibrahimovic, who has the option of a second year at Old Trafford, reckons there’s plenty left in his tank.
“Of course, as I get older, I can’t move so well as five or 15 years ago,” he said. “But the older and more intelligent [I get], you don’t waste as much energy on things you don’t really need.
“My game is improving. I’m getting better and better. I feel like Benjamin Button. I was born old and I will die young.”
Mourinho is delighted United’s season is still alive on two fronts and while he is desperate to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League, he won’t give up qualifying through the Premier League.
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He also singled out left-back Luke Shaw for special praise four days after accusing him of lacking a football brain.
“The Europa League is the most important competition for us because we can win that, but we are still fighting in the league,” said Mourinho, who revealed Antonio Valencia is the only injured player likely to be available for Thursday’s trip to Anderlecht.
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On Shaw, he added: “He played well. The opposition was not causing us big problems but he was solid, confident with the ball and was going forward with adventure. He played a really good hour for us.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic took his tally to 28 for the season against Sunderland
Sunderland look doomed but Moyes, who has now sent his observations on ‘Slapgate’ to the FA, refuses to throw in the towel.
“We keep going until while it is still mathematically possible,” he said. “It’s even tougher for us now and we’re in a difficult position but we’ve a home game next so let’s get a bit of momentum.”
Moyes was unhappy with referee Craig Pawson for sending off Seb Larsson in the 48th minute.
“Seb got the ball,” he said. “It was not even a booking. The referee got it wrong.”