Ibrahimovic returns to Sweden squad aged 41 after recovering from long-term injury
- Zlatan ruptured ACL in May 2022
- Last Sweden appearance was a year ago
- Returns to fray but not as starter
WHAT HAPPENED? The veteran forward ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament back in April 2022 and required surgery a month later, and he hasn’t featured for the national team since the 2022 World Cup qualification play-off defeat to Poland in March 2022. Having made his AC Milan return from the bench against Atalanta on February 26, Sweden head coach Janne Andersson confirmed Ibrahimovic’s inclusion in the squad to face Belgium and Azerbaijan later this month.
WHAT THEY SAID: When asked about the extent of the 41-year-old’s involvement, Andersson told reporters: “I don’t see him as a starter. It will be more like it has been in Milan that there are substitution possibilities.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite an international hiatus between Euro 2016 and their unsuccessful World Cup qualifiers in 2021, Ibrahimovic remains Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 caps. If he features in either of the two fixtures in March, the veteran forward will surpass the 22-year mark in his international career, which dates all the way back to January 2001.
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WHAT NEXT FOR IBRAHIMOVIC? Before the qualifying matches against Belgium and Azerbaijan on March 24 and 27, respectively, the Swede will have one final game with Milan against Udinese on Saturday.