The IKEA ego already believes he is the world’s greatest striker – and now Zlatan Ibrahimovic can prove it to everyone else.
Ibrahimovic’s effort against Sunderland brought up the half century of club goals in 2016 for Paris Saint-German and Manchester United.
Only Lionel Messi in the world’s top leagues can better that tally, with the Barcelona star having netted 51 times this year.
But with Messi laid up for La Liga’s winter break, Ibrahimovic has the chance to finish 2016 as the world’s top marksman if he scores twice against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve.
Phil Jones is not betting against the Swedish hitman and he is hugely impressed with him.
He feels Ibrahimovic has much more than goals to his game and hailed him as the team’s focal point.
“He’s a handful,” said the United defender. “He’s a big, strong man and he knows where the back of the net is.
“He’s got great feet and his link-up play, the way he brings others into play, is superb.
“He gives you that outlet when you are under pressure. Obviously we don’t want to keep knocking the ball long in games, but if you have to, then he’s always there to receive it and he makes life very difficult for defenders.
“He’s a big focal point for our team.”
Ibrahimovic, 35, has lived up to his huge reputation at United since arriving on a Bosman in July and only Ruud van Nistelrooy has bettered his return of 12 goals from his first 17 Premier League games.
Ian Wright explains why Ibrahimovic has found his form
The former Inter Milan star is also the first United player since Cristiano Ronaldo nine years ago to have netted 16 times before Christmas Day.
Ibrahimovic has helped United reel off four successive league wins to turn up the heat on the top four in the race for the Champions League places and Jones says the team have real momentum.
“Yes, definitely,” he said. “There were four or five games we should have won, but drew. But we are not losing now we’re turning those draws into wins now.
“We’ve had four back-to-back wins now and we need to keep going and winning because there is no margin for error, especially in this League.
“You get found out very quickly if you don’t perform and every game is tough, especially over this busy Christmas period. Hopefully we can now get another home win to finish off the year.”
Jones has also played his part and United are unbeaten in the 10 games he has played since returning to the team in November after 11 months out injured.
The England centre-half is finally free of injury and says one reason is he has ditched his post-match sessions on his PlayStation.
“I think as I’ve got older, I’ve become wiser to recovery and realised how important it is,” he said.
“When I was younger you think you know it all and after games you would probably just go for some food or sit on your PlayStation.
“Now I take it a lot more seriously and recover properly because I know I need to give myself the best possible chance to be as fresh and as a fit as I can for the next game.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goals in 2016
Ligue 1: 23
Coupe de France: 7
Champions League: 3
Premier League: 12
EFL Cup: 2
Europa League: 2
Community Shield: 1