Romelu Lukaku says playing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Man United 'changed' him

Romelu Lukaku learned a lot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Image: Romelu Lukaku learned a lot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Romelu Lukaku says playing alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United was an “eye-opener” that helped make him a better player.

Lukaku, who used to share the same agent as Ibrahimovic, Mino Raiola, before leaving to join Jay-Z's Roc Nation last year, joined United in July, 2017 from Everton.

At the time, Ibrahimovic, who quickly established himself as a talisman for United after joining from Paris Saint-Germain the previous summer, was recovering from knee ligament damage he suffered in a Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht at Old Trafford.

The pair enjoyed very little time together on the pitch as Ibrahimovic did not work his way back from injury until November and left United to join LA Galaxy in March, 2018.

Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic left a lasting impression at Old Trafford

But Lukaku says Ibrahimovic made a big impression on him nonetheless, and was not willing to concede his position as United's first-choice striker without a fight.

"Everything I learned from Zlatan was great, from his stories that he told me when he was at Inter, AC Milan, Barcelona and even Ajax, to being on the field working with him, seeing how competitive he was," Lukaku told United's official website.

"I remember one training session - because we were both strikers, we were never on the same team - there was a 50/50 challenge. He went full-on against me!

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"That is when I knew this guy wants to compete and this guy wants to fight for his spot. That is why he changed me. It was an eye-opener. The guy had to fight to be in the position he is in.

"So, I learned just to focus, work hard and enjoy it as well. Because he is a guy who you can have a lot fun with as well and having his personality in the dressing room was good."

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