Always gallant and provocative, also with that accentuated point of conceit that his character has already acquired, Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his return to the Swedish national team after five years of absence. “The return of God,” he wrote on social networks next to a photo in which he is seen with 10 from Sweden. The 39-year-old forward, competitive like few others, has been called up for the next qualifying matches of the World Cup in Qatar against Georgia (March 25) and Kosovo (28), as well as the friendly final against Estonia (31). The truce with coach Janne Andersson has been a success.
It turns out that Ibra’s relationship with the coach was quite tense from the beginning and only lasted one year, as the forward left the national team after falling in the 2016 European Championship without achieving any victory. “My history with the national team is over. I could have done more, I could have done less, but my time with them is at an end. Either way, it would be beautiful if Sweden reaches the World Cup, ”said the forward. And it hit the target because the team overcame the play-off and reached the quarterfinals. “We have been able to adapt without him,” Andersson answered, annoyed in any case; “A year and a half has passed without him being with us and there is not a day that I am not asked about Zlatan.” Among other things, because the striker put sauce on the matter.
Two courses ago, when he went to Malmoe to inaugurate a statue of him that the Federation gave him, considering him the best in its history, he said: “How many immigrants did you select in the first call? To nobody. They asked him and he whimpered. Then, he already called others of different origins to be politically correct ”. Words that did not have an echo in the group or in the country, which even repudiated the return of the ram. Later, when the team lost the first match of the League of Nations against France, he expressed himself on social networks while a photo of the coach was seen: “What a fucking joke. Another test. Incompetent people in the wrong positions that suffocate Swedish football ”.
The rifirrafes held firm to Andersson in his conviction that he would never summon him if the player did not request it. And so it happened, through an interview in Italy. Enough for the coach to travel to Milan and meet the player. And, once the talks started, everything was fixed because Ibra embraces Sweden again. It is not a minor challenge for the striker, who if he plays he will become the longest-lived player to defend the Sweden jersey, until now Thomas Ravelli’s record. “Ibrahimovic is the best player we have had in Sweden and in addition to what he can contribute on the field, he has incredible experience and can bring it to other players on the team,” Andersson resolved when giving the squad list.
Zlatan has made 116 appearances for Sweden – far from the 148 signed by midfielder Anders Svensson – and is by far the top scorer with 62 goals to the 49 signed by Sven Rydell roughly a century ago. Their next big goal, in any case, is next summer’s Euro Cup, where the Scandinavian team will meet Spain in the group stage. It is likely that Ibra -16 goals in 21 meetings with Milan, even though he has four in the dry dock due to muscular discomfort- is in front and is once again the cornerstone of the team, partner in the lead of Isak (Real Sociedad) and Quaison (Mainz). Ibra is back.