Zlatan Ibrahimovic has dropped a huge hint that he may come out of international retirement to play for Sweden at this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The veteran Manchester United star was quoted by ESPN as he revealed that ‘the door isn’t closed on anything’, after he discussed the possibility of returning to the international fold.
Ibrahimovic retired from Swedish duty after their elimination from the group stages at Euro 2016, and some fans had hoped that the 35-year-old would end his exile to make one last finals appearance for his national side.
Ibrahimovic, however, placated any chances of hyperbole surrounding his potential return by insisting he needed to return to full fitness before even contemplating a recall, with the United striker sidelined with the recurrence of his long-term knee injury.
He said: “I miss the national team. When you’ve played for 20 years and you get to see the others playing in the national team, it’s hard.
“But it’s hard in general when you’re injured because you want to play — both for your club and your national team.
“It’s been my life for 20 years and suddenly I’m in a position where I’m not playing every three days. But I just have to accept the situation and fight. I can’t do anything else, but train and fight and set my targets.”
Sweden head coach Janne Andersson led his country to the World Cup with a shock play-off victory over Italy last November, but has remained quiet on whether he would call on Ibrahimovic to feature in three months’ time
The ex-Sweden captain added he would wait and see if Andersson contacted him, but couldn’t help but feel positive about the possibility of playing for his country again.
Ibrahimovic said: “We’ll see, it’s a tough question. I want to feel that I can perform and give
something back. I don’t want to come [to Russia] just because of who I am.
“The door isn’t closed for anything. But first I have to play, we can’t start focusing on the national team when I’m not playing. But I feel alive when all the talk is buzzing, so that’s good.”