Zlatan could delight Sweden fans again as squad set to be named


STOCKHOLM: Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be about to thrill Swedish soccer fans again if Janne Andersson names him in his squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers after the pair settled their differences to pave the way for the talismanic striker’s return.

Ibrahimovic, 39, walked away from the national team after Sweden exited Euro 2016 at the group stage and his relationship with Andersson, who took over after that tournament, was limited to sniping form the sidelines while hinting at a comeback.

Throughout that time, Andersson remained adamant that if Zlatan wanted to come back he would have to get in touch, and that looked most unlikely until the AC Milan striker opened the door in a newspaper interview in late November 2020.

The 58-year-old Sweden coach quickly flew to Milan to have a private conversation with Ibrahimovic.

Since then both sides have been tight-lipped but few people would be surprised if Ibra was named on Tuesday in the squad for Sweden’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo in March and the country’s fans would be ecstatic.

Ibrahimovic may not be the unstoppable physical phenomenon he once was but Sweden’s record scorer (62 goals in 116 games) has netted 14 times in 14 Serie A appearances so far this season, proving he can still contribute at the highest level.

Including the striker in the squad would be a gamble but might inspire the well-organised Sweden team at this year’s Euros where they face Spain, Poland and Slovakia in Group E.

Born one day after Zlatan made his senior debut for Malmo FF on Sep 20 1999, striker Alexander Isak has never known a time when Ibra was not his country’s best known sporting name.

Like many players in the current squad, Isak grew up watching Ibrahimovic scoring goal after stunning goal in Italy, Spain, France and England, saving some of his best strikes for his adoring home fans in Stockholm’s Friends Arena

Source: CNA

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