Zlatan Ibrahimovic has an outstanding debt in the World Cups. At the age of 39, the forward decided to return to national team football and will play his first match with Sweden since 2016 when his country receives Georgia in Stockholm, for the Qualifiers heading to Qatar 2022, on Thursday.
The immediate objective for Ibrahimovic will be the next European Championship, but he's already looking at the World Cup in Qatar that will be played between November and December 2022 when he is already 41 years old. But, what is the real reason why he decided to return to the National Team when he had announced that he was retiring and was not even motivated by participation in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games?
Ibrahimovic participated in two World Cups (Korea-Japan in 2002 and Germany 2006) and went without scoring goals. For this reason, he wants to cover that hole that he has in his voluminous credentials. "That's something I want to achieve because I can't have a zero", said a smiling Ibrahimovic on Monday. "Looking so far away is dangerous. I think I should think about tomorrow ... but if I feel that way right now, I'm going to be there".
The Milan striker alternated between moments of your typical arrogance ("If you ask me, I'm the best player in the world") and others of modesty during a press conference that he gave for an hour at the Friends Arena stadium in Stockholm. He even burst into tears when he remembered saying goodbye to his relative before traveling to Sweden for the next games against Georgia, Kosovo and Estonia.
Zlatan, Sweden's historic scorer with 62 goals in 112 games played, said that he had missed playing for the national team and that he feels more enthusiastic than ever: "Every time I jump onto the pitch I feel like a child kicking the ball for the first time".
Ibrahimovic also said that the severe knee injury he suffered while playing for Manchester United, which kept him out of business for seven months, transformed his attitude about his career. He made just seven other games for United before signing for two seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy.