Zlatan Ibrahimovic: a strange return to the national team with almost 40 years

The return of the Swedish striker of Italy's AC Milan to the national team five years after saying goodbye is not the first case in elite football.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The soccer star returns to the Swedish National Team after announcing his retirement in 2016. Photo: IG-iamzlatanibrahimovic

Latin American Post | Onofre Zambrano Moreno

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Leer en español: Zlatan Ibrahimovic: un extraño regreso a la selección con casi 40 años

Although he turns 40 in 2021, Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to be an elite figure in the soccer world as evidenced by his performance in the Italian calcium, five years after announcing his retirement from the Swedish National Team, after playing the Euro 2016.

His goals and his athletic ability continue to speak for him, as much as his return to the national team, which was generated after a conversation with coach Janne Andersson. This is how the attacker reconsidered, according to the newspaper FotbollDirekt, who was the first to ensure that "Ibra" will play the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

"It is quite clear that the Milan star will make a comeback in the national team in the next qualifiers for the World Cup, " said the aforementioned Swedish newspaper, adding that during these qualifying rounds the attacker will reach his fourth decade next October. .

ESPN Deportes recalled Ibra's statements at the tournament in which he decided to retire. "Sweden's last game in this Euro will also be my last. I am very proud to be the captain of Sweden and for what I have achieved. I want to thank all the fans, because they make it possible for me to achieve everything I have achieved. ”He was 34 years old, a very good age to hang up his boots at the national team level.


In that successful journey, Zlatan scored 62 goals in his time with the National Team between 2001 and 2016, including friendlies and officials for a total of 116 games . His first commitments in this new stage will be against Georgia and Kosovo.

Ibrahimovic's call was confirmed on March 16, after he resolved his differences with the current coach and thus reach agreements.

Zlatan was always very critical of his coach for not having included players of foreign origin in his first list after taking office. A very notorious example was that of the Juventus player, Dejan Kulusevski .

The veteran scorer referred to the case of his colleague of Macedonian origin through his social networks, in which he used terms such as "shame" and more "proof of incompetent people" who "suffocated" Swedish soccer.

Ibra, whose origin is Bosnian-Croat, noted on that occasion, “I don't know him, I have never personally judged him. My words were a judgment for the summons he made. And I stay. I feel like everything I built for twenty years disappeared one day. If it bothers me? Yes, it bothers me ”, according to what was compiled by

Sweden is a competitive team at present and, in fact, despite the absence of Zlatan, it reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup and, later, advanced directly to Euro 2020 in which it will play against Spain, Poland. and Slovakia .

It's not the first time

Precisely, when Sweden achieved its historic qualification to Russia 2018 via the playoffs, Ibrahimovic celebrated it so much that he even assured that he would return from retirement to get uniform again and be able to play the World Cup, which he has only played in the 2006 Germany edition.

But that option was immediately vanished when strategist Andersson asked the media not to continue talking about Zlatan.

Another remembered case was that of Lionel Messi, who retired for just four months . La 'Pulga' left "La Albiceleste" after losing the final of the Copa América Centenario 2016 on penalties to Chile .

The same player acknowledged that it was a moment of weakness generated by the heat of the moment: "for me the selection is over" he had assured, but his credibility lost a lot of weight after announcing so soon that he was returning.

Another Argentine, the remembered Diego Armando Maradona, never officially announced his retirement from the national team despite the fact that his coach ruled him out throughout 1993 and perhaps it was a good decision, because in danger of not qualifying for the United States in 1994, the “10 ”Was called again to play the playoff against Australia.

The shameful elimination of Italy in Brazil 2014, just in the group stage, motivated Andrea Pirlo to step aside , but surprisingly he returned just over a year later to play the qualifiers for the Euro 2016 in France.

Another Argentine, the "Apache" Carlos Tevez, assured that he would not return to his National Team due to disagreements with the directors of the time after the 2011 Copa América . But almost three years later, with new administrators, Tevez returned, although he was not as successful again.

Also read: The 5 most promising young soccer players

Cuauhtémoc Blanco, charismatic and talented Mexican midfielder announced his retirement from “Tri” in 2008 but two years later, the new coach Javier “Vasco” Aguirre invited him to his project and “Cuau” accepted.

As can be seen, although it is not the first time that a player returns to his team after announcing his retirement, the case of Zlatan is unprecedented due to his longevity and the amount of time that passed since he announced his departure from the Swedish cast .

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