LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the most recognisable and talented strikers in modern football, yet the former Sweden international will not be appearing in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, following his retirement from international duties in June 2016.
In his 15-year stint he scored 62 goals in 116 appearances for the Scandinavian nation, but the 36-year-old still has so much to offer.
However Janne Andersson denied the Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United striker an opportunity to be included in his 23-man team and add to his haul of 116 caps.
At the time of his retirement following the European Championships in which he failed to score, the Swede released a statement which said: “It feels heavy. It feels disappointing but at the same time I enjoyed it. We had the possibility of playing in the European Championships, I represented Sweden at this tournament so at the same time I am proud.
“This was my last game and I have many fantastic memories of the national team. It is a nice story as where I came from, what people called the little ghetto, I made the country my country. Sweden.”
However prior to the World Cup, Ibrahimovic had hinted he may return to the international fold..
“I miss the national team. If I want, I do it. I want to feel I can deliver a good performance,” he said.
“We’ll see, it’s a tough question. I want to feel that I can perform and give back. I don’t want to come just because I’m somebody. The door isn’t closed for anything.”
Ibrahimovic is however over in Russia to support his country, releasing a photo to social media of himself alongside super agent Mino Raiola last week with the caption: “Now the World Cup can officially begin #minoraiola.”
And whilst the U.S may not be represented in these World Cup games, there are 19 MLS players representing their national teams in Russia.