• February 9, 2023

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: AC Milan striker recalled by Sweden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from international service after Sweden left the European Championship in 2016

The Swedish top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was called up to the national team five years after his resignation was announced.

The 39-year-old scored 62 goals in 116 international matches before retiring from the group stage at Euro 2016.

He opened the door to a return in a newspaper interview in November 2020, and Sweden coach Janne Andersson then flew to Milan to meet the striker.

Ibrahimovic has scored 14 goals in 14 Serie A games for AC Milan this season.

Sweden will face Georgia on Thursday 25 March before facing Kosovo in the first two World Cup qualifiers in 2022 three days later.

Ibrahimovic responded to the Swedish team’s announcement with a tweet: “The return of God”.

“He can be a little funny at times,” said Andersson when briefed on the forward’s tweet during an online press conference.

“First and foremost, he’s a very good footballer, the best we’ve had in Sweden. It’s obviously very good that he wants to come back.

“Aside from what he can contribute on the field, he has an incredible experience and can contribute that to the other players on the team.”

The 6ft 5in striker made his international debut as a 19-year-old against the Faroe Islands and scored in his first competitive game – a qualifier for the 2002 World Cup against Azerbaijan.

He was named captain for Euro 2012 qualifying and scored one of the best goals of the final with a volley in the 2-0 win over France, despite Sweden being eliminated in the group stage.

Former strikers from Barcelona, ​​Paris St-German, Manchester United and LA Galaxy returned to AC Milan on a six-month deal – with the option for another season – in January 2020.

Ibrahimovic scored 29 goals in 53 games for United, who agreed to end his contact early before joining MLS Side Galaxy in 2018.

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