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LA Galaxy bound? Mourinho won’t stand in Zlatan’s way

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Reports are intensifying that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is heading to Major League Soccer, with the LA Galaxy his destination.

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On Sunday reports suggested that a move was in the works for Ibrahimovic, 36, to move to the Galaxy.

And now it appears that his current club Manchester United would be willing to let the veteran Swedish striker go, as he continues to recover from a recent injury setback following his ACL injury last year.

When asked about Zlatan joining LA Galaxy on Monday, here’s what Jose Mourinho had to say to the media ahead of United’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

“He said nothing about it to me. If that is true and Zlatan wants a future in another club in another country, we are here to help and to create conditions to help and not make his life difficult,” Mourinho said. “The last thing that Zlatan told me is that he wants to recover totally and be ready to help the team.”

This seems like Ibrahimovic is ready to move on from being a back-up striker at United and Mourinho is obviously willing to let him leave if he wishes to do so.

Following his speedy recovery from a ruptured ACL injury he suffered in April last year, Ibrahimovic made his United comeback in November but has since suffered further complications which have limited the towering striker to just seven appearances in all competitions this season with one goal scored.

With Zlatan said to be on a structured one-year deal at United which rewards him greatly for playing games but not so much if he’s sitting on the bench or in the stands, he’ll be far from happy with the current situation.

Ibrahimovic scored a staggering 28 goals in all competitions for United last season as he led them to the League Cup and Community Shield trophies (scoring the winner in both finals at Wembley) as well as playing a pivotal role in United winning the UEFA Europa League. His opening season as a United player was a rip-roaring success as he proved all of his doubters wrong.

Yet with Romelu Lukaku arriving in the summer for $96.5 million and the continued progression of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, there’s a sense that Zlatan is no longer needed at Old Trafford. That notion was hammered home by the audacious signing of Alexis Sanchez last week.

Zlatan’s move to LA would be blockbuster and he would help the Galaxy sell plenty of season tickets as fans flock to see one of the greatest strikers, and showmen, in soccer history. Given their woeful season in 2017, LA need plenty of help and may return to their model of bringing in experienced European stars (Robbie Keane, David Beckham) to bring success.

This deal makes sense on so many levels, and especially with LAFC arriving in MLS in 2018.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.

Benfica routs Boavista 4-0 to take lead in Portugal

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Benfica is one point in front of Porto, which has two games to play.

[ MORE: Man United gets Brighton in FA Cup quarters, Chelsea draws Leicester ]

Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Benfica in the 18th minute when he headed in a pass from Jardel.

Jardel added a goal just before halftime. Boavista’s Nuno Henrique also scored an own goal before Raul Jimenez polished off the victory in the 90th.

Jonas had a penalty saved by Boavista goalkeeper Vagner with the score 0-0.

Porto hosts Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting Lisbon is three points behind Benfica before visiting Tondela on Monday.