Zlatan Ibrahimovic to leave Manchester United, close to MLS move: Report

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time at Manchester United could come to an end as early as this week. (AP)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic to leave Manchester United, close to MLS move: Report

MANCHESTER: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s time at Manchester United could come to an end as early as this week with a move to Major League Soccer in the pipeline, according to a report on Thursday.
Ibrahimovic, whose contract expires in June, has made just seven appearances for United this season on his return from a cruciate knee ligament injury.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played his last game for Manchester United,” said an ESPN report.
“He is close to sealing a move to Major League Soccer this week following persistent links to LA Galaxy.”
The Galaxy have a history of luring aging stars to America with David Beckham, Steven Gerard and Robbie Keane among those to have made the move to Los Angeles.
Ibrahimovic, 36, hasn’t featured at all for Jose Mourinho’s side since being substituted at half-time in a 2-2 draw with Burnley on December 26.
The Swede scored 28 goals in 46 appearances during a stunning first season in England before tearing knee ligaments in a Europa League tie against Anderlecht in April.
His form was rewarded with an extension of his contract for a second season, but the £75 million ($105 million) signing of Romelu Lukaku saw him slip down the pecking order at Old Trafford.


Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

Updated 19 February 2019
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Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

  • It was Osaka's first match since she won the Australian Open — her second consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • World No. 67 Mladenovic lost for words after surprise win.

DUBAI: Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open as the world number one went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.
Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.
The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.
“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world No. 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.
“Beating the number one is always special.”
The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.
Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.
She said earlier this week that she would not prioritize “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.
Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.
Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, saw off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elize Mertens.
“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.
“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”
A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.
“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.
“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.”