Manchester United have included Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their squad for the Champions League group stage that begins next week.
Ibrahimovic, 35 years old, re-joined United last month after he was released at the end of last season. However, he is still recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury he picked up in April and is not yet back at full fitness.
Nonetheless, he has been included in the squad as it makes him eligible to play in the group stage if he makes a return to fitness in time.
Last week United’s manager Jose Mourinho suggested that there is no chance that Ibrahimovic will be able to take part in the group stage and that he is unlikely to be fit until the second part of the season.
“I am not thinking Zlatan will play any part in the group phase,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think there is any chance of that. Do we have space in the Champions League list to have him? Yes, we have. Hopefully he can play in the knockout phase but for that we need to finish top two.”
Last season Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in his debut Premier League season and helped United win the Caraboa Cup and the Europa League, earning them qualification to the Champions League in the process.
Their first group stage match is at home against FC Basel on September 12 and they will then go on to face CSKA Moscow on September 27 and Benfica on October 18. Following those games they will host Benfica at Old Trafford on the final day of October and then travel to Basel on November 22. The final group stage match will be at home against CSKA Moscow on December 5.