Football or be it football fans, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be sadly missed at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In the midst of speculations whether the Swedish star will be wearing the No. 10 at the FIFA World Cup or not, the managing director of the national squad, Lars Richt has his say.
Ibrahimovic, 36, has had hints, him appearing at the World Cup and during his recent, on April 18, sit down with late-night presenter Jimmy Kimmel on his show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the football star answered the host he would go to the World Cup.
Here's their conversation:
Jimmy Kimmel: Are you going to play in the World Cup?
Zlatan: I'm going to the World Cup.
Jimmy: What will you be wearing at the World Cup? Will you have cleats on the bottom of your shoes or will they be regular shoes?
Zlatan: I just said I am going to the World Cup. If I say more, people will hang me.
Jimmy: It seems like an extreme reaction to you wanting to play in a soccer match.
Zlatan: I mean a World Cup without me wouldn't be a World Cup.
Video: Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The hopes were high and fans were super excited for Ibrahimovic to put on his national jersey after the 2016 EURO Cup competition, but as revealed by BBC Sports, Ibrahimovic will not be playing at this year's World Cup as announced by the Swedish FA.
“I talked to Zlatan on Tuesday. He announced he did not change his mind about the national team — it is no,”
said Lars Richt.
— Zlatan Ibrahimovic (@Ibra_official) 1 April 2018
The LA Galaxy and former Manchester United forward retired from international duty following the 2016 EURO Cup, but ever since there have been floods of speculation much of it fuelled by Ibrahimovic himself, that he would come out of retirement. On a number of occasions, he said "YES" on whether representing Sweden in Russia this summer or not.
The chance of me playing in the World Cup is skyhöga #FifaWorldCup2018
— Zlatan Ibrahimovic (@Ibra_official) 15 April 2018
The 2014 FIFA Puskas Award winner has played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups scoring a total of 62 goals in 116 games for his country.
Video: Zlatan Ibrahimovic at receives the Puskas Award at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Ceremony 2013
In a statement published on Ibrahimovic's football team's official Instagram page, the national selectors said,
“A final message: Zlatan will not play at the World Cup.”
Sweden qualified for Russia 2018 without the playmaker, with a win over Italy in a playoff to secure their qualification. The team missed out 2010 and 2014 tournaments and will be the team's first World Cup since 2006.