Ibrahimovic yet to ask World Cup question of Sweden despite bold return claims

National team coach Janne Andersson is yet to speak with the enigmatic striker about coming out of international retirement in Russia this summer

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be talking up his involvement at the 2018 World Cup, but Sweden boss Janne Andersson says he is yet to speak with the striker.

The 36-year-old frontman slipped into international retirement after Euro 2016.

He played no part in Sweden’s latest qualification campaign, which saw them stun Italy in a two-legged play-off, but has hinted at returning to the fold in Russia this summer.

Ibrahimovic has stated on a regular basis that nobody can prevent him from gracing the tournament if he wishes to do so, but no discussions have been held with Andersson.

The man who will ultimately decide who makes the Sweden squad and who misses out told Bild am Sonntag on a possible recall for a legendary figure: “He hasn't said to me yet that he wants to play.

“When he has made his decision he is welcome to call me and talk with me about it.

“In the end I am the manager and I make the decisions. And at the moment I have other things to do than to think about what would be if...”

Andersson told TV4 on Saturday when quizzed once again about Ibrahimovic’s place in his World Cup plans: “Zlatan and a number of other players said they did not want to join the national team after the European Championship in France, and I respect that.

“But what the media is speculating about and what Zlatan himself is talking about, I cannot relate to that. I relate to what has been said between us. 

“We have had a deal where we agreed on what was going on and where he was very clear to me. I agreed with that.”

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While Andersson is doing his best to curb the furore surrounding Ibrahimovic, it would be a surprise if the experienced forward is overlooked by Sweden.

An iconic performer who is now on the books of MLS side the LA Galaxy recently told the Jimmy Kimmel show on American television regarding a role in Russia: "I'm going to the World Cup, yes. If I say more, they will hang me, so I have to be careful what I say.

"A World Cup without me wouldn't be a World Cup."

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