Long read: The making of Zlatan – friends and foes reveal the rise behind the legend

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Manchester United

Additional reporting: Marcus Alves, Arthur Renard, Alberto Santi

Manchester United’s players trudge across the training ground’s manicured lawns to the sanctuary of the changing rooms. But on this nondescript Lancashire morning, the squad’s newest foreign recruit doesn’t join them. Instead he approaches the manager, who’s under pressure to deliver domestic success after another limp campaign.

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Andrew Murray is a freelance journalist, who regularly contributes to both the FourFourTwo magazine and website. Formerly a senior staff writer at FFT and a fluent Spanish speaker, he has interviewed major names such as Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Xavi. He was also named PPA New Consumer Journalist of the Year 2015.