We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Peter Schmeichel: Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born to be a Manchester United player - just like Eric Cantona

Former goalkeeper has likened the PSG striker to the United legend and claimed that he would like to see the Swede playing for the club in the future

Former goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel believes Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born to be a Manchester United player and that he hopes to see him playing for the club in the near future.

The Dane has compared him to United great Eric Cantona, and he has claimed that the 31-year-old can have just a big an impact as the Frenchman did during his time at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Cantona from Leeds for just £1.2m in November 1992, but he became a leading figure that year in ending the club’s 26-year wait for a league title, before establishing United as a dominating force in English football that continues today.

Schmeichel, who spent eight years at Old Trafford, told Swedish newspaper Expressen: “'You've got to ask Zlatan why he hasn't played in England yet, but I'd love to see him at Manchester United.

“I don't know who he supports, but he's a born Manchester United player, he would be absolutely brilliant.

“I think our supporters would love him, if he ever made that move, he wouldn't move again.

“For Zlatan to play the way we love him to play, he has to be Zlatan.

“We're a very big football club and we've had players behaving in different ways throughout the history of the club.

“The managers have always been able to handle that and get the maximum out of the players.

“A lot of people are comparing Zlatan with Eric, Eric Cantona. He had a difficult time before he came to United.

“He had 11 clubs in France and a trial at Sheffield Wednesday and Trevor Francis didn't fancy him and then he had six months at Leeds and Howard Wilkinson didn't fancy him.

“But then he came to United and the rest is history. He's arguably the greatest player we've ever had.

“I think he's so suited to the Premier League and he has loads of time left in his career, I hope we see him there.”

United head into their defence of the Premier League title in unfamiliar territory following Ferguson’s retirement after 26-years at the helm of the Red Devil juggernaut, and Schmeichel feels that this season could be tougher than what is normally expected at the club due to the changes in the club’s hierarchy.

“It's always difficult to defend a title because whatever team you play they always want to beat the champions,” said Schmeichel.

“And having won 13 out of 20 Barclays Premier League titles the team and the players have the experience.

“But there's been a few key changes at the club this summer. David Gill has left and Ed Woodward is now in charge of the football club.

“And of course Sir Alex Ferguson has left and David Moyes is in so that changes things a little bit and all the other clubs are trying to take advantage of that.

“I think United will change under Moyes, you can't emulate what Sir Alex did, he has to do it his own way. But I don't think you can change something like Manchester United that much.”

After leaving the club in 1999, Schmeichel returned to the club last year in an ambassadorial role, and he believes that the recently retired Ferguson will be there to assist Moyes when needed, but that he will stay out of the headlines in doing so.

“I don't think Sir Alex will be that involved, he will keep a very low profile. He appreciates how difficult a position David Moyes is in.

“And he'll let him do the job and not interfere whatsoever, but he's there to support Moysey if he needs him.

“I don't think you'll see Sir Alex out there. But he'll be at the games.”