Ibrahimovic back in Sweden squad

18
Stockholm

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to Sweden’s squad after an almost five-year hiatus to play in World Cup qualifiers at the end of March, head coach Janne Andersson said on Tuesday.

The player, known for his not-so-humble ways, also announced his own return, posting a picture of himself on Instagram in the Swedish team kit with the caption “The return of the God”.

The highly-anticipated announcement comes just three months before the European Championship in June-July.

The 39-year-old AC Milan striker retired from the Swedish squad after the 2016 European Championship, with 116 caps and 62 international goals.

Media had speculated about Ibrahimovic’s possible return to the national team, but the Swedish Football Association had refused to comment until Tuesday, when he was announced among the players selected for the qualifiers against Georgia on March 25 and Kosovo on March 28, as well as a friendly against Estonia on March 31.

Ibrahimovic has been nursing a muscle injury lately but hopes to return to the pitch on Thursday when Milan face his former club, Manchester United, in the Europa League round of 16.

The Swede has made headlines over the years with cheeky hints that he could be returning to the Swedish team.

But things took a more serious turn last autumn when, after being awarded Sweden’s Footballer of the Year award for an astonishing 12th time in late November, he said that he missed playing for the team.

“The one who does not miss it, he has already finished his career. And I have not finished my career,” he told Swedish daily Aftonbladet.

Ibrahimovic and coach Janne Andersson then met for talks. Andersson told reporters Tuesday: “I think we’ll be a better team with Zlatan, that’s why he was selected.—AFP

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