Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks determined to return to action sooner than expected as he stepped up his recovery process from a serious knee injury. The former Sweden international suffered severe cruciate ligament damage in the latter stages of 2016/17 campaign and initial diagnosis ruled him out at least until the start of 2018.

The 35-year-old is having none of that and is targeting a return before Christmas this year. Ibrahimovic is hoping that he can land a short-term deal with former employers Manchester United after he was released by the Red Devils earlier in the summer following the expiry of his one-year deal.

Ibrahimovic's latest Instagram post shows the striker focusing on strengthening his knee in the gym with the caption: "Power is nothing without control." While the person who was filming the former United star declared that the "king of football is coming back!"

Jose Mourinho has confirmed that the 20-times English champions could re-sign the former Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona striker once he recovers from his knee injury. The manager, however, indicated that the final decision will lie with Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-president.

Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in all competitions, including in the Community Shield win against Leicester City and the English League Cup final win against Southampton. Mourinho also won the Europa League – beating Ajax in the final - in his first season at the club, and even though the Swede missed the final, he scored five goals leading up to the summit clash.

The Swedish forward joined United from PSG on a free transfer last summer, but the Red Devils had to outlay a major financial package – £19.11m ($24.8m) – to convince him to sign for them. According to Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football Ibrahimovic earned a basic salary of £367,640-per-week while also being entitled to a goal bonus worth £2.86m.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury with the hope of an earlier than expected returnGetty