European championship

Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in Sweden team for World Cup qualifiers

According to Swedish sports daily FotbollDirekt, the 39-year-old AC Milan striker is set to be recalled to the national team five years after retiring.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in Sweden team for World Cup qualifiers
DANIELE MASCOLO REUTERS

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to be recalled by Sweden five years after his international retirement, according to reports. The in-form AC Milan striker, 39, has been vocal about his desire to pull on the yellow shirt once again and Sweden boss Janne Andersson has always been open to the idea. Now it seems Sweden fans will be rolling back the years much like Ibrahimovic at San Siro for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo.

Ibrahimovic has banged in 14 goals in 14 Serie A games this season, leading Milan to a Scudetto challenge with Inter and Juventus, and has managed 16 in 21 across all competitions. That scoring rate has persuaded Andersson that Ibrahimovic can still do a job at international level as Sweden limber up for Euro 2020, where Sweden have been drawn in Group E with Spain, Poland and Slovakia.

Zlatan back after five-year Sweden absence

Ibrahimovic retired from international football after the 2016 European Championship and although there was a brief flirtation with a return for the 2018 World Cup it never came to pass. Now, though, Andersson has noted that he will face criticism at home “whatever I do” over the veteran striker, who is Sweden’s all-time leading scorer with 62 goals in 112 games.

Given Ibrahimovic’s form at Milan, Andersson feels it would be remiss to overlook a return for the striker at this stage when previously such a move could have been tarred as a purely romantic gesture.

Ibrahimovic last played for Sweden in 22 June, 2016 in a European Championship group stage defeat against Belgium.