Manchester United will take on FC Rostov in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16 at Old Trafford on Thursday. They drew 1-1 in the first away at Russia. The competition remains their hope of qualifying for the Champions League next season if qualification via the Premier League fails.
But not only that, winning the Europa League will represent Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first silverware in Europe and from that perception it won’t be a surprise if the forward give his all in winning the competition. He has been successful on the domestic front but the sane cannot be said of his career when it comes to Europe.
Despite a glittering career that has spanned 18 years – laced with goals, medals and individual honours and playing alongside the best in the world as well as playing in top clubs in Europe – the Champions League has eluded the Swedish striker and winning the Europa League may just fill the void created by the absence of a European medal for the time being.
Playing for three different top clubs in the Serie A, from Juventus to Inter Milan and AC Milan, his former sides were knocked out on each occasion by a Premier League Arsenal (2006), Man United (2009) and Tottenham (2011) respectively.
At Barcelona in 2010, they were knocked out by his former club Inter Milan who he had left few months earlier and the story did not change at French club Paris Saint-Germain as he failed to lift the trophy in each of his four seasons at the club.
The most interesting part of it remains that the 35-year-old has never reached the final of any European competition so leading Man United to the Europa League final in his home country would go a long way.
And it appears he has given up non winning the Champions League and that could be the reason for stalling on extending his contract with United as he may move on if the Reds fail to qualify.