The in-form AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic told in an interview earlier this week that his hamstring injury is “nothingserious” and hinted that he may be open to a return to Sweden national side for next year’s Euro 2020. The 39-year-old, who was recently awarded Sweden’s Footballer of the Year award for an astonishing 12th time, retired from international football after the World Cup in 2016.
“If you ask me I’ll be honest: yes, I miss the national team,” he told Swedish daily publisher. “It’s no secret. The one who does not miss it, he has already finished his career. And I have not finished my career.” The veteran recently hinted he is ready return from his international retirement by posting an image of himself in a Sweden jersey on social media, captioned: “Long time no see.”
Ibrahimovic says he is not even considering when he might retire, having scored 20 goals in 24 Serie A matches since returning to the club in January. Earlier this week, he limped off with a hamstring issue after scoring twice in a 3-1 Serie A win at Napoli and could be sidelined for a month. When asked how would he respond if coach Janne Andersson called him, he said: “Give me time, I have to think about it.”
However, Andersson was quick to comment about Zlatan’sinterest. “First, it is necessary that he himself wants to be involved in the national team project,” Andersson said. “In 2016 he told me clearly he no longer wants to be part of it. I respected his choice then and over the years since. He has to be the one who says he wants to come back. If that is the case, it will then be up to me to decide.”
Ibrahimovic is Sweden’s all-time leading scorer with 62 goals in 116 matches but has not played for the Nordic nation since a 1-0 defeat to Belgium at Euro 2016. After two years in MLS with Los Angeles Galaxy, Ibrahimovic returned to European football and he has been in impressive form for AC Milan since his summer move, heading the Serie A scoring charts with 10 goals already this season.
Without Zlatan, Sweden sealed a place in the Euro 2020 finals after goals from Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison secured them a 2-0 win over Romania last year. The game was stopped briefly by the referee following racist chants by Romanian fans. They finished second spot in Group F with 18 points behind Spain. Next summer will be the Swedes’ sixth successive appearance in the tournament.