Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hailed Zlatan Ibrahimovic as ‘absolutely phenomenal’ in his first season in England and believes the striker deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.

Ibrahimovic has made a mockery of his age to score 26 goals for United since arriving on a one-year deal last summer, and he is expected to trigger an extension to his contract.

The Swede scored twice as United lifted their first piece of major silverware under Mourinho in the 3-2 victory over Southampton in the EFL Cup final, and the Portuguese is surprised Ibrahimovic is yet to win FIFA’s world player of the year award.

Mourinho: Zlatnan Ibrahimovic deserves to be recognised as world best footballer
Make Zlatan the best. That’s all

‘I think what he has done is amazing,’ Mourinho told MUTV.
‘The number of goals he’s scored, the two matches at Wembley, the trophies, what he is in the group, and what he means. I think he is absolutely phenomenal. No more words

‘I just gave an interview to a big French magazine with big responsibilities in these big awards, the FIFA Golden Ball and so on. I know about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
‘We all know what they are and what they are doing but I can’t believe this big man, with the career he’s having, I can’t believe he’s never won it.

‘So why not this season, if he can do something special? If he can win more trophies, reach Stockholm and the Europa League final. Why not this man, who is 35 years old, to get that deserved award?’

The 35-year-old scored on his Premier League debut against Bournemouth on the opening day of the season at the Vitality Stadium, and he will have the Cherries in his sights once more on Saturday at Old Trafford.

Mourinho: Zlatnan Ibrahimovic deserves to be recognised as world best footballer
The best

Henrikh Mkhitaryan remains a doubt for United having missed the EFL Cup final with a hamstring injury while Phil Jones is pushing for a return after a foot injury.

Mourinho confirmed in his Friday press conference that Luke Shaw and Wayne Rooney will be in the squad on Saturday


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