Zlatan Ibrahimovic has boldly claimed that “FIFA can’t stop me” if he takes the decision to chase a World Cup dream with Sweden this summer.
The enigmatic frontman took the call to head into international retirement at the end of Euro 2016.
He has, however, suggested that he would be willing to return to the fold for one final outing for his country on the grandest of stages.
A commercial partnership with gambling platform Bethard has threatened to scupper those plans – as a result of FIFA regulations relating to betting – but Ibrahimovic insists nothing will prevent him from being in Russia if he decides to take that path.
“Just as with the national team, if I want to play, I’ll play.
“This is not a question for FIFA, it’s a question for me and what I want.”
He added: “The door is open, and not closed
“If everything feels as it should and I feel that I can do the things I am capable of and want to do, as I’ve always done them, then we can talk about it. But that’s not where we are at right now. We’re in a position where I’m just happy that I can play."
“Now I want to play football, so let’s play football. And when we play football we will see if we can play football in the World Cup.”
It tells you everything about Ibrahimovic’s standing in Sweden that he is even in contention for a World Cup berth given his lack football in recent times.
While going close to two years without an international outing, the 36-year-old has also seen fitness issues deny him regular domestic appearances of late.
An unfortunate injury suffered while with United in April 2017 means that, even after earning another short-term deal at Old Trafford, he managed just seven more appearances in England.
He has stepped off the bench on two occasions to date – enjoying a dream debut in the Los Angeles derby – and admits that his focus at present is locked on playing for “fun”.
Ibrahimovic added: “I just want to have fun now. Play football and feel the grass every day. That's what it's all about.”
It may be that a remarkable career takes him back to the World Cup finals, with a modern day icon having shown down the years that he is capable of achieving anything when he puts his mind to it.