STOCKHOLM (AP/RTR) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to the Swedish national team after a long absence to start qualifying for next year’s European Football Championship in Germany. When asked whether he still has the ambition to actually participate in the final round, he said: “At my age you don’t think about the future. But actually I am the past, the present and the future for my country.”
What exactly the 41-year-old attacker meant by it, he left open. “The trainer has selected me and that is something for me to be happy with. I will do everything I can to help the team and the country. We will see exactly how that will happen. That I will not go too far I think it is also something that has become clear by now that I have to look ahead as a football player.
Zlatan said he has had three knee surgeries in the past 14 months. His last goal as an international dates back to November 2015. “It looked bad for a long time,” said the player, who also played at Ajax at the start of his career. “My knee was swollen for about eight or nine months. But suddenly it got better. I could think about playing football again. That gave me a lot of energy.”
Since then it is even better day by day. “But I didn’t come back because it’s fun for me. I’m back to perform. With a good game I want to contribute to the results of my club AC Milan and the Swedish national team. I want to be able to do that for a while, in good health. Hopefully everything is going well now and that will work out.”
Last weekend, Ibrahimovic used a penalty against Udinese for AC Milan. He is now the oldest player to score in Italy’s Serie A. Sweden will play against Belgium in Stockholm on Friday.