Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed out on a place in Sweden’s World Cup 2018 squad because he never requested to come out of international retirement, claims Henrik Larsson.
The enigmatic frontman hinted on a regular basis during the build-up to this summer’s showpiece in Russia that he would step back into the fold for the first time since Euro 2016.
At 36 years of age, an iconic figure was considered to still have plenty to offer his country on the grandest of global stages.
Ibrahimovic was, however, overlooked when Janne Andersson settled on a 23-man party, with the former Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United striker denied the opportunity to add to his haul of 116 caps.
Celtic legend and former Sweden striker Larsson says the national hero is responsible for his own absence at another major finals, telling ITV Sport: “He never called the coach. That's what the coach said when he took over.
“Zlatan announced his retirement and he said ‘if he wants to come back, he has to give me a call’.
“He never called him and that's why he's not here.”
Ibrahimovic has suggested the Swedish media are responsible for his snub, with the finger of blame pointed in the direction of those who questioned a possible return in a public forum.
He said: "I think it's the biggest party in football, playing the World Cup.
"All the best players are there. Zlatan is not there, so… He should be there, but he's not there.
"The media says they [Sweden's team] are better without me, so that's why I believe in them.
"This is the Swedish media mentality. I don't have a typical Swedish name. I'm not the typical Swedish attitude, behaviour and that, but still I have the [goal-scoring] record in the national team.
"So, if you don't know how to do it collectively, why did you play in the biggest teams in the world, and you won? So, I know how to win, trust me. And I do it good."