‘I am the past, present and future for my country’

‘I am the past, present and future for my country’

NOS Football

Zlatan calls himself the present, the past and the future of Sweden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to the selection of the Swedish national team after a long absence. There, he has reported ahead of the first qualifying matches for next year’s European Championships in Germany.

Asked if he still has ambitions to make it to the final round soon, the 41-year-old AC Milan striker said with his familiar swagger, “At my age, I don’t think about the future. But actually I am the past, the present and the future for my country.”

What exactly Ibrahimovic wanted to say with it he left open. “The coach has selected me and for me that is something to be happy about. I am going to do everything I can to help the team and the country. How exactly that’s going to happen we’ll see. That I shouldn’t look too far ahead as a footballer anymore, however, also seems to me to be something that has become clear by now.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic at training for Sweden

The Swedish striker struggled with a knee injury for a long time, but recently returned to the Milan squad. “My knee was swollen for about eight or nine months,” he says of the recent period. “But suddenly it got better. I could think about playing soccer again. That gave me an enormous amount of energy.”

Since then, things have improved day by day. “But I didn’t come back because it’s fun for me. I’m back there to perform,” he says. “With good play, I want to contribute to the results of my club and the Swedish team. I want to be able to do that for a while longer, in good health. Hopefully everything is with us now and that will work out.”

Sweden will play Belgium in Stockholm on Friday. The next qualifying match against Azerbaijan is scheduled three days later. Estonia and Austria are the other countries in Group F.

Kayleigh Williams