Manchester United fans are among many supporters worldwide who simply adore Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The veteran goal machine is in the twilight of his career, and has had limited game time at Old Trafford this season, thanks to injuries and Jose Mourinho’s favoured No 9: Romelu Lukaku.
But we may see Ibrahimovic back on the greatest stage of all this summer: playing at the World Cup for his native Sweden. We all remember how outrageously good he’s been in a Sweden shirt. Just ask Joe Hart:
Ibrahimovic is the country’s all-time highest scorer with 62 international goals. But he retired in 2016 after the European Championships.
But last season Ibrahimovic was on fire, and many believe he still has plenty to offer Sweden, who face a tricky task in the group stages, where they’ll meet Mexico, South Korea and holders Germany.
And Ibrahimovic has admitted that he may well consider making a return to the international fold for one last hurrah, if he’s asked.
“We’ll see, it’s a tough question. I want to feel that I can perform and give back. I don’t want to come just because I‘m somebody. The door isn’t closed for anything,” Ibrahimovic said, via Reuters.
“I miss the national team,” he said. “When you’ve played in the national team for 20 years and then you’re not in it anymore, and you see the others playing in the national team, it’s tough.
“It’s tough in general, when you think that I‘m injured and not playing. I want to play, with the club team, with the national team, it’s the same thing. They (the Swedish national team) have done a good job.”
Will we see Zlatan at the World Cup? Time will tell. But let’s always remember one of his great quotes about the greatest tournament in international football:
“The World Cup is nothing without me.”