Zlatan Ibrahimovic was forced off with a knee injury deep into stoppage time during Manchester United’s Europa quarter-finals second leg with Anderlecht.
The former Sweden captain’s knee buckled after landing awkwardly just before extra-time, with the Ol Trafford clash level at 1-1.
Jose Mourinho whose side were eventual 2-1 winners, feared the worst after the game, admitting he’s expecting “fairly negative” news.
However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hinted he could play a part in Wednesday night’s Europa League final with Ajax, just weeks after being ruled out of action for up to a year.
Zlatan suffered medial ligament damage in his knee when landing awkwardly in the game exactly a month ago, which it was claimed would keep him out for the rest of 2017
But after undergoing successful surgery at Pittsburgh’s University Hospital a fortnight ago, Ibrahimovic is slowly back on the road to recovery and has taken to instagram to show himself walking in a swimming pool as part of his rehabilitation process.
He accompanied the short clip with the words “ready for the final”, but he will only be present in the stands as he watches events unfold at the Friends Arena.
The protective strapping he has been wearing around his leg for so long was absent as he strolled around the pool in his United training kit.
It would be virtually unheard of for a sportsman to recover from an ACL injury so quickly, with only NFL running back Adrian Peterson coming close.
Ibrahimovic had a sensational debut season for United, scoring 28 goals in all competitions before injury, and is desperate to win the Europa League final his native Sweden.
But United left-back, Luke Shaw was much more optimistic, telling reporters: “He’s fine. He was walking around in the changing room”.
United also saw defender Marcos Rojo leave the field on a stretcher in the first half, leaving them dangerously short of options at the back.
Mourinho has Daley Blind fit but is already without center-backs Phil Jones and Chris Smalling and suggested the duo needed to be “brave”.
The Red Devils’ boss said : “We have Daley Blind, who has experience in the position, and i think it is time for Jones and Smalling to be brave-to risk. Because for the team you have to do everything, that is the way i think. You cannot do miracles, so miracles i don’t expect, but they have to try to do everything to accelerate the process”.