• Ibrahimovic is expected to return to action before the end of the year.
  • The Swede has been sidelined for the last seven months with a knee injury.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed that he is close to returning to action but made it clear that he has no intention of rushing his return in order to risk a setback.

The Swedish forward is willing to bide his time and return when the manager and club coaching staff give him a green light.

Ibrahimovic has been sidelined for the last seven months with a severe knee injury he suffered during the latter stages of Manchester United's triumphant run in the Europa League. He underwent surgery and has been in rehabilitation for the last five months.

The Red Devils released him following the expiry of his contract at the end of last season, but re-signed him during the transfer window. The Swede was United's top scorer last season with 28 goals, but will have to play second fiddle to Romelu Lukaku this campaign owing to the Belgian's form at the start of the season.

The initial diagnosis was that Ibrahimovic will only return in 2018, but Mourinho, who has urged patience, is hoping that he will return before the end of the year. A Mirror report recently suggested that he will return for United's clash against Arsenal on 2 December, but Ibrahimovic does not seem to be in a mood to rush his comeback especially after stating that Lukaku's form has ensured there is no pressure to expedite his return to the pitch.

"Of course I could play tomorrow, but it's not the way to do it. One thing is running straight, one thing is changing direction, but all those things are different in a game, it is impulsive, instinctive," Ibrahimovic told Sky Sports during an interview with Thierry Henry ahead of United's clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (28 October).

"I take it day-by-day, and when the coach, club, team-mates think I'm ready, I'm ready. When that day is, we don't know. I take it step by step.

"I've done a lot of hard work for five months. Just because I see I am close to the target, I don't want to rush to the finish," the former Sweden international added.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic is not willing to rush his return despite being close to comeback Getty