Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Zlatan Ibrahimovic deserves to win the Ballon d’Or next year.With 26 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions in his first season at Old Trafford, Ibrahimovic has exceeded expectations for a 35-year-old.
But despite his achievements with many of Europe’s biggest clubs, Ibrahimovic has never been named a finalist for football’s biggest individual prize.
The Ballon d’Or has gone to Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi each of the past nine years, but Mourinho told MUTV that Ibrahimovic can end the streak.
“I think what he has done is amazing,” Mourinho said. “The number of goals he has 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.
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“I just gave an interview to a big French magazine with big responsibilities in these big awards, the Ballon d’Or and so on.
“I know about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. I know what they are and what they are doing but I can’t believe this big man, with the career he is having, I cannot believe he has 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?”
Mourinho’s comments were posted just hours after Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola criticised any player who sought to win individual awards like the Ballon d’Or, calling such aims “ridiculous.”