• Zlatan Ibrahimovic ends international retirement
  • 39-year-old striker wants to lead Sweden to World Cup
  • Back on the good words, the anecdotes, the stats and the big goals of the former Parisian

“What is the point of watching a World Cup without Zlatan,” wondered the incredible Swedish scorer in November 2013.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had just signed a famous double with Sweden. Unfortunately for him, Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick allowed Portugal to snatch one of the last tickets for Brazil 2014, after a barrage that has been remembered.

Ibrahimovic then retired internationally the day after UEFA EURO 2016, aged 34. The story between the FIFA World Cup ™ and one of the most provocative footballers of all time seemed to have to end there.

But, it is well known, Zlatan is not the type to follow the script. The 39-year-old former Parisian has therefore announced his return to the Swedish team for the qualifications for Qatar 2022 … with his usual sense of the formula.

When Zlatan was debuting with Sweden …

Date: Jan 31, 2001

  • The wikipedia site had been officially online for two weeks.
  • It was not possible to take pictures with a cell phone in Europe. Xbox and MySpace did not exist.
  • Independant Woman de Destiny’s Child,It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy, Beautiful Day de U2, Love Don’t Cost a Thing by Jennifer Lopez and Ms. Jackson Outcast topped the charts worldwide.
  • Michael Schumacher had just won the Formula 1 World Championship for the fifth year in a row.
  • The Spaniard Pedri would see the light of day almost two years later.
  • Movies Ocean’s Eleven, The Fast and the Furious and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the first episode of the Harry Potter saga) had not yet been released.

Ibrahomovic has been among the nominees for the FIFA Puskás Prize four times. Only Lionel Messi (7) and Neymar (4) can say the same. His exploits include: a fabulous lob with AC Milan as the Lecce goalkeeper was practically on his line; an acrobatic kickback with Sweden against England; the famous “scorpion blow” with Paris Saint-Germain against Bastia and his acrobatic heel with LA Galaxy against Toronto. In the end, it was his victorious recovery against Joe Hart that earned him his name on the prize list of the event.

Zlatan’s good words

“When I was 17, Arsene Wenger offered to give me a try at Arsenal. I refused. Zlatan is not auditioning.”

“I went to the left, he followed me. Then I went to the right, he followed me again. I went back to the left and there he went to buy a hot dog” (About the treatment he had subjected to Stéphane Henchoz, during an Ajax – Liverpool match)

“What Carew does with a balloon, I do with an orange.”

“Nothing. She already has Zlatan.” (About his wife’s next birthday present)

“Lions don’t compare to humans.” (To a journalist amazed not to have heard him mention his own name when asked about the best strikers in the Premier League)

Top European national scorers

Player Pays Buts Matches Ratio
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 102 171 0.60
Ferenc Puskas Hungary 84 85 0.99
Sandor Kocsis Hungary 75 68 1.10
Miroslav Klose Germany 71 137 0.52
Gerd Muller Germany 68 62 1.10
Robbie Keane Ireland 68 146 0.47
Robert Lewandowski Poland 63 116 0.54
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sweden 62 116 0.53
David Villa Spain 59 98 0.60
Edin Dzeko Bosnia 59 113 0.52

Ibrahimovic and the World Cup

Ibrahimovic made a few appearances in Korea / Japan 2002, failing to prevent his side from leaving the tournament in the round of 16. In qualifying for Germany 2006, he scored eight goals in eight matches, but was silent in the final phase. Lars Lagerback’s men finally bow to the host country in the round of 16. He still shines throughout the preliminaries for Brazil 2014, but Sweden sees one of the last tickets for the final phase escape him, to the benefit of Portugal.

Group B (European qualifiers for Qatar 2022)

Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo

Other key players

Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad)

Like the number of Guldbollen, the award given to the best Swedish footballer of the year, which ended up in his pocket. Ibrahimovic has won the award ten times in a row, between 2007 and 2016. Since the award was created in 1946, no player had won it more than twice.

The most beautiful goals ofIbra

Ibrahimovic has scored 15 goals in 15 Serie A appearances for AC Milan in 2020/21.

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