Zlatan Ibrahimovic: I have upgraded shirt number at Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he had "upgraded" his Manchester United shirt number to 10 after giving his blessing to Romelu Lukaku's wish to wear No. 9.

Ibrahimovic will return to action for United later this season after signing a new contract at the club, despite the striker being currently sidelined by a knee ligament injury sustained in April.

Uncertainty had surrounded Ibrahimovic's United future due to his initial contract expiring in June, and Lukaku called him to ask if he could wear the United No. 9 shirt the former Sweden forward had used last season.

Ibrahimovic, who will wear No. 10, which was vacated by Wayne Rooney, said he had no issues with giving up the number he'd worn for the majority of his career.

"Lukaku called me and said: 'Bro, can I get the No. 9 shirt?'" Ibrahimovic told ESPN FC. "I said: 'I'm not on that level that I will make it difficult for you, I just want you to feel happy and feel welcome, so I give you the No. 9 but I will take the No. 10.' That's the way we do it.

"So I never left, I just upgraded my number."

Lukaku has made an impressive start to his United career, scoring four goals in three competitive games for Jose Mourinho's team.

Ibrahimovic topped United's scoring charts with 28 goals last season, but said the club needed to sign a striker of Lukaku's calibre to boost their prospects of winning the Premier League.

"I'm happy he came," Ibrahimovic said. "I think the team is much stronger this season although we lost Rooney, a legend.

"We took three new players and with these three new players the team is stronger.

"From the first year going to United, the team has been winning trophies and learning the sacrifice it takes to win a trophy, and the mental part, and that is where I think the coach brought the team, the mental thing and me as a player.

"And signing Lukaku makes us even stronger because he has different qualities from me as a striker and from [Marcus] Rashford as a striker.

"He is a powerful guy and he brings extra qualities in a game."