Zlatan Ibrahimovic Will Not be in Russia

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Ibra will not play in the World Cup in Russia (Wikimedia)
(WFI)- No World Cup for Zlatan.

The Swedish FA released a statement on Thursday saying that Ibrahimovic will not be considered for its 2018 World Cup roster.

The announcement finally puts an end to speculation about Ibrahimovic possibly coming out of international retirement after last playing for Sweden in the 2016 Euro Cup.

A few weeks ago, Ibrahimovic said in a tweet that his chances of playing in the upcoming World Cup were sky high. He later appeared on a TV talk show to claim: “I’m going to the World Cup, yes.”

Even in the last few hours, the new L.A Galaxy striker posted a video on Twitter which showed him looking at an incoming phone call from ‘Janne’ – referring to Sweden head coach Janne Andersson.

But the Swedish Football Association’s statement on the player is categorical:

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic has previously said no to playing for the national team – and he hasn’t changed his mind,” the statement read. “‘I talked to Zlatan on Tuesday. He told me he hasn’t changed his mind regarding playing for the national team – it’s still a no," says Sweden’s Sporting Director, Lars Richt.

This comes after Andersson told German magazine Kicker that, as far as he was concerned, Ibrahimovic was still retired.

“The case is settled. If you’ve lost the drive to be with the national team for 40 to 50 days a year, and rather do nothing or spend time with your family, I respect that,” said the Swedish coach

“If he changes his opinion, contacts me and tells me, ‘Yes, I want to be part of it,’ then we’ll sit down…. If you want to be part of it, you must call me. Easy as that,' added Andersson.

So the Swedes have dismissed Ibra’s alleged interest in playing for his country while the player made a lot of noise to feed that possibility after signing a World Cup-related sponsorship deal with Visa.

Ibrahimovic, who has also played for Malmo, Ajax , Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, and Paris St Germain, went to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and scored 62 goals for Sweden in 116 games.

After Swede’s failures to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, the Scandinavians  managed without Ibrahimovic to qualify for the 2018 edition. They finished ahead of the Netherlands in its UEFA group, and then beat four-time World Cup champions Italy in a playoff. That explains some opinions that this Sweden team is better without Zlatan.

Sweden is in the same World Cup group as world champions Germany, Mexico and South Korea.


By INSIDER Javier Monne

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