Emotional Zlatan returns to Sweden squad

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Vincent

An unusually reserved and humble Zlatan Ibrahimovic had to hold back the tears on Tuesday as he arrived in Sweden ahead of his return this week to the Swedish national squad after nearly five years away.

Veteran striker Ibrahimovic showed a more sensitive side to his usually brash public persona when he was asked about what his two teenage sons, Maximilian and Vincent, thought of his international comeback.

“It’s not a good question you’re asking. I had Vincent here, who actually cried when left him. But it’s OK, it’s OK,” he said with tears in his eyes.

Speaking to reporters days ahead of Sweden’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Georgia on Thursday, the often boastful 39-year-old acknowledged he was much more “patient both on and off the field” than when he announced the end of is international career after Euro 2016.

“Right now you’re thinking: ‘He’s much too nice and much too humble’,” Ibrahimovic joked.

Sweden’s most successful player, the AC Milan forward retired from international football with 116 caps and 62 goals for his national team.

He announced his return to the squad in his usual style last week on Instagram with a picture of himself in the Swedish team kit with the caption “The return of the God”.

But ‘Ibra’ said Monday he didn’t want to be given a spot on the team for his past achievements but because he “deserved” it.—AFP