Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ibrahimovic to retire from Sweden duty after Euros

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Jun 2016

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Wednesday’s game against Belgium may be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last for Sweden after he announced he will retire from internationals following Euro 2016.

Sweden head into their final Group E fixture in Nice likely needing a win to reach the last 16.

In a pre-match media conference on Tuesday, Ibrahimovic said: “The last game at the Euros will be my last game for Sweden. I will not play at the Olympics.”

Ibrahimovic came into the tournament aiming to become the first man to score at four European Championships, but has so far struggled to make an impact, drawing blanks against Republic of Ireland and Italy.

Coach Erik Hamren added: “We would need a whole press conference for my opinion on Ibra. He has made a huge contribution for Sweden. He has been fantastic for Sweden. 

“I heard today that Ibra would retire. He told me in February that he considered retiting and he confirmed it today. 

“Sweden do have a bright future after Ibra, even if he would be a huge loss, both as a goalscorer and as a personality. 

“He has really helped Swedish football. We might no longer have a Zlatan, but we will have a number of good players. 

“I am optimistic about the future with our young players. Our greatest star going is a big loss, but the future is bright.”

The 34-year-old previously took a break from international football in 2009, after Sweden’s failure to qualify for the following year’s World Cup in South Africa, only to return as captain in 2010.

He has become the undisputed talisman of the national side and his country’s record goalscorer, netting three of Sweden’s goals in their 4-3 aggregate win over Denmark in the Euro 2016 qualifying play-offs.

Ibrahimovic has enjoyed four prolific and torphy-laden seasons in Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain, but is set to depart the French capital when his contract expires at the end of this month, with a move to Manchester United and a reunion with Jose Mourinho reported to be on the cards.

Sweden go into Wednesday’s clash third in Group E on one point. Victory would see them advance in second behind Italy, unless Ireland pull off the unlikely and defeat Antonio Conte’s men by two goals more than Sweden’s winning margin.

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