The chances of Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming out of international retirement for the World Cup have all but evaporated.
The LA Galaxy striker, who quit the Swedish national team after Euro 2016, had hinted recently that he could be prepared to return for the upcoming tournament in Russia, but those hopes now appear to be dashed.
Sweden managing director Lars Richt said that he had spoken to the 36-year-old recently, but that the former PSG and Man United forward’s stance had not changed from what it was two years ago.
“I spoke with Zlatan on Tuesday. He said that he has not changed his mind regarding the national squad.
“It’s a no”
In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show last week, the MLS’s new star teased fans that he may come out of retirement to play in Russia, suggesting that it “wouldn’t be a World Cup if he didn’t play” before adding that he would be going to Russia (but stopped short of revealing in which capacity).
The 36-year-old who last played at a World Cup with Sweden in 2006, retired from the Swedish team after the 2016 European Championship.
He said last month he wanted to concentrate on settling into his career in Major League Soccer before thinking about the World Cup.
Ibrahimovic last played in a World Cup with his national side in 2006, with Sweden failing to make the finals on the last two occasions. Janne Andersson’s side fought hard to reach the finals this time around, finishing second to France (ahead of the Netherlands) in their group before defeating four-times winners Italy in a playoff last November.