Zlatan Ibrahimovic: AC Milan striker back in Sweden squad for world cup 2022 qualifiers after five years of international retirement
The AC Milan striker has been included in the squads for the games against Georgia on March 25 and Kosovo three days later, as well as a friendly against Estonia on March 31; Ibrahimovic scored a national-record 62 goals in 112 games for Sweden from 2001-2016.
In November 2020, at a ceremony where he was voted as Sweden’s men’s player of the year for the 12th time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic told Sweden coach Janne Andersson he would be interested in returning to the national team. After more talks, Andersson chose to recall the country’s most high-profile player.
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For the moment, Ibrahimovic is back on the international scene only until the continent-wide Euros scheduled for June and July this year. It remains to be seen whether he stays on until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, when he would be 41.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 16, 2021
“The team I have now, we have built up a way to work and a way to play for four-and-a-half years, so now he is a new person in this,” Andersson said. “He is one of the players who will be with us for the first time next week so he is coming into us.
“And, of course, he has to adapt to how we work, how we play. He has done that before, he has changed clubs before several times … I don’t think that’s a problem, in any way.”
Andersson dismissed concerns that Ibrahimovic’s ego could be a distraction in the squad.
“I’m not worried at all about that,” he said. “We have talked about this of course, me and Zlatan. He is the person he is and he should be the person he is, in one way.
“But he is also an excellent football player with a lot of experience we can use in the team. … We have talked, of course, about how we will work together and how we work in the national team and what he can add to that with his way of playing. I am sure it will be good.”
Andersson laughed off Ibrahimovic’s typically brash social-media post signaling his return to the squad.
“It’s the way Zlatan sometimes makes announcements,” he said. “That’s Zlatan.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has 16 goals in 21 appearances for Milan this season, though he has missed the team’s last four matches because of a right thigh injury.