- Ibrahimovic and Lukaku clashed in 2021
- Sweden come up against Belgium on Friday
- But Zlatan says there won't be more fireworks
WHAT HAPPENED? The pair famously clashed in a Coppa Italia quarter-final back in January 2021, in which both forwards scored but Inter prevailed 2-1. A lot has changed since that date, with Lukaku trying and failing at Chelsea before returning to Italy, and Ibrahimovic helping Milan win the 2021-22 Scudetto. Friday's European qualifier will be the first meeting between the two in some time, but the big Swede played down any lasting rivalries, calling it "a normal game" from a "tough group".
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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Since the pair's feud over two years ago, Ibrahimovic has undergone and since recovered from knee surgery, following a ruptured ACL back in May 2022. He recently made a return for Milan having missed a staggering 280 days of action, and become Serie A's oldest scorer with his penalty in a 3-1 defeat at Udinese on Sunday.
But the Sweden international admitted he never thought about leaving Milan despite his injury, stating: “Leaving Milan after the title would have been too easy. I am here to make the difference, if not I wouldn’t be here. I was celebrated for being the oldest goalscorer in Serie A, but I don’t want records because I am old, I want them because I am myself. I don’t want to talk about my age, I have a lot to show to prove to those who thought I was finished that they were wrong."
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty ImagesGetty ImagesGetty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR IBRAHIMOVIC? Zlatan and Lukaku will come face-to-face on Friday, before Sweden host Azerbaijan the following Monday in the second of their two qualifiers.