Zlatan Ibrahimovic was retired from international football in 2016 as Sweden failed to qualify for Euro 2016 despite his best efforts. And after one and half years, Zlatan is still grabbing the headlines as Sweden qualified for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
I wrote a column that Swedish football ends with Zlatanera, when Ibrahimovic retired but Sweden defied the odds as they eliminated four time World Cup champion Italy to earn their berth for Russia 2018. It’s a new Swedish team and it’s not a one man show as it was in Zlatan’s era, but Swedish media hasn’t given up the hope that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will come back into Sweden’s national team.
Janne Andersson, Sweden’s coach mentioned about Ibrahimovic in his post match interview. Goal reports as Andersson stated, “This is incredible! This player [Ibrahimovic] has just stopped to play with Sweden one year and a half ago and we are still talking about him.”
Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic himself put his euphoria on display through his Instagram account. He captioned a picture of Sweden’s victorious team, “We are Zweden @swemnt on his official Instagram account.
Zlatan would love to end his career on a high note and there may be a possibility that Sweden may give him a chance to shine if he would like to make a return to the national side. At the age of 36, he is still shining armour for Manchester United and international football wouldn’t be a burden for him.
He retired due to his frustration to qualify for major tournament. He tries his best to qualify Sweden for FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal earner the berth with their 4-2 aggregate victory in play-off and Ibrahimovic made a bold statement. He said, “It was probably [my] last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me. One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch. Congratulations to Portugal, but both teams deserved to get to the World Cup.”
And in the end he also mentioned about his fantasy to play in World Cup. He added, “Of course I’m disappointed. I wanted to play the World Cup.” However FIFA World Cup 2014 didn’t fulfill his wish, 2018 brings him an opportunity. He has a possibility to come out of retirement and lace up his boots in Russia if Sweden wants to give their former hero a warm welcome in the group and have a final say on the world’s biggest stage.