Premier League

Ibrahimovic closes on Cristiano and Messi for 2016 pichichi

As we reach the final few games of the year around Europe, the Manchester United forward is looking to push the first and second place Ballon d'Or players for top scorer Sporting vs Barcelona

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, delantero sueco del Manchester United, celebra su segundo gol en el partido de Premier League disputado en The Hawthorns entre West Bromwich Albion y el equipo entrenado por el portugués Jose Mourinho.
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Stoke City - Manchester United live

Proving the doubters wrong

Top scorer Messi looking cold but normally hot in front of goal.

After some criticism when he first arrived as a free transfer to Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has proved the doubters wrong. His two goals against West Brom takes his tally to 16 goals for his new club and a total of 48 goals for the calendar year. Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have more.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his third goal with teammate Karim Benzema in the FIFA Club World Cup 2016 final.

In the Premier League alone this season, only Arsenal's Alexis Sánchez and Chelsea's Diego Costa have scored more than his 11. With two games to go the Swede still has a chance to finish on top of Europe's charts - although it would involve a Christmas miracle. With Sunderland and Middlesbrough to play, both of whom are fighting relegation, he'd need to bag a fair few to catch the Barça and Madrid players.

Messi has already scored 58 goals this year and Barcelona have two games to go (Espanyol in LaLiga and Hércules in the Copa del Rey. Ronaldo, after his hat-trick in the Club World Cup, has found the net on 55 occasions but Madrid are not in action again until early January.

The manager always knew

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho being proved right.

After the latest game in England's top division, United manager Jose Mourinho hailed Zlatan Ibrahimovic's performance that moved the club alongside fifth-placed Tottenham on 30 points in the table.

"He is doing amazingly well, even in the period when he was not scoring goals," said Mourinho. "He is important to us for many more reasons than the goals but in the last two matches he has scored three goals and got us six points in two away matches which is very important.

"I was expecting him to have the impact he has had this season because I knew the reasons he was coming here. He was not coming for the money or the prestige, he was just coming to enjoy his football and to play in the best league in the world."