Zlatan Ibrahimovic

'Nothing has changed' - Sweden coach on Ibrahimovic return speculation

A recent social media post fuelled talk that the 39-year-old could be prepared for a comeback on the international stage.

 
8:43pm on Tuesday 24th November 2020
By
David Lynch

Sweden coach Janne Andersson has warned Zlatan Ibrahimovic that he must declare himself available to the national team again if he wishes to return.

The 39-year-old initially retired from international duty following Sweden's group-stage exit from Euro 2016, a tournament in which he failed to add to a record haul of 62 goals.

However, he has been repeatedly linked with a return since, most notably ahead of the World Cup in 2018.

Speculation over a potential comeback recently resurfaced after Ibrahimovic posted a photo of himself in action for his country with the caption 'Long time no see'.

But, when asked about the possibility, Sweden coach Andersson insisted nothing has changed as far as he is concerned.

39 yrs - S (C) - Milan
96 
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
529
Played matches
6
10
1
Shots P90
5.96
Shots On target P90
2.72
Successful passing %
71%
Final third passes P90
22.28

"First, it is necessary that he himself wants to be involved in the national team project," he told Aftonbladet. "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.

"We haven't seen each other for a while. I don't follow him on social media, but in any case I don't care what he says on there or how he says it.

"I know what he told me and what we agreed when he left the national team. Since then, nothing has changed from my perspective."

Ibrahimovic has enjoyed something of a renaissance since returning to Milan in December 2019 after two seasons with LA Galaxy.

The striker has scored 22 goals in 30 appearances for the Italian club, defying those who had suggested his time as a force in European football might be over.

"I can't say I'm so surprised," Andersson said of Ibrahimovic's form. "If I were, it would mean I didn't believe in his potential. I'm very impressed Zlatan can continue to have this hunger and drive.

"He is really impressive, a great athlete, and by far Sweden's greatest player of all time. It is amazing what he is accomplishing, so hat off and congratulations to him."

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