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Zlatan Ibrahimović

'The return of the God' - Ibrahimovic recalled to Sweden squad for 2022 World Cup qualifiers

12:19 GMT 16/03/2021
Zlatan Ibrahimovic AC Milan 2020-21
The AC Milan striker has come out of international retirement ahead of this month's fixtures against Georgia and Kosovo

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been recalled to Sweden's squad for their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Ibrahimovic has not played for his country since announcing his retirement from international football back in 2016, but has been included in Janne Andersson's latest squad.

The 39-year-old will join up with Sweden later this month as they begin their road to Qatar 2022, with Andersson delighted to welcome a talismanic figure back into the fold.

What's been said?

Asked what Ibrahimovic will bring to the team after announcing his final squad on Tuesday, Andersson told reporters: "First and foremost, he is a very good football player, the best we have had in Sweden. 

"It is of course very funny that he wants to come back. 

"In addition to what he can contribute on the pitch, he has incredible experience and can contribute it to other players in the team."

Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic confirmed his decision to come out of retirement via social media, positing a picture of himself playing for Sweden on Twitter with the caption: "The return of the God."

Zlatan's record for Sweden

Ibrahimovic made his debut for Sweden in 2001, and went on to earn 116 caps for his country, featuring in two World Cups and four European Championships along the way.

The Milan striker still holds the record as the top goalscorer in Sweden's history with 62 to his name, and will have the chance to add to that haul if he is named in Andersson's starting XI against Georgia on March 25.

How has Zlatan performed at club level this season?

Ibrahimovic has been as prolific as ever in the final third for Milan in 2020-21, despite being one of the oldest players still playing in one of Europe's top five major leagues.

The mercurial frontman has hit 16 goals in 21 appearances across all competitions to date, but hasn't played as often as he would have hoped due to a string of niggling injuries.

Sweden's World Cup qualifying group

Georgia, Kosovo, Spain and Greece were drawn in Group B alongside Sweden for the 2020 World Cup qualifiers, with Andersson hoping he can guide his country to the tournament for the second time since 2006.

Sweden are due to play Kosovo three days after their clash with Georgia and also have a friendly match scheduled against Estonia on March 31.

Further reading