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Zlatan Ibrahimovic to make international return aged 40 after Sweden recall

Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been recalled to Sweden’s international squad for their upcoming World Cup qualification matches, which will be held after his 40th birthday

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make his international return for Sweden aged 40 after being called back up for his nation’s World Cup qualifiers for October.

The legendary striker was ruled out of Euro 2020 after suffering a knee injury but vowed to play for his nation again, despite celebrating his 40 th birthday on 4 October.

He has now been called up for the Scandinavian nation’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Greece on 9 and 12 October respectively.

This is despite the striker only being involved in 30 minutes of competitive action since recovering from injury – a half-hour cameo as a substitute in the Serie A win over Lazio last month.



Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed Euro 2020 with a knee injury
(

Image:

AFP via Getty Images)




The veteran striker subsequently suffered an aggravation of an Achilles tendon injury and has sat out his club’s matches since, including the Champions League defeat against Liverpool at Anfield.

Ibrahimovic has scored 62 goals in 118 senior caps for Sweden – the nation’s all-time leading goal scorer, while he is 24 caps off the record appearance holder Anders Svensson.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson has said of recalling the striker: “I decided to call him up because I think he can be involved and contribute to the case.

“He is recovering from an injury, but is also progressing day by day and we will see him next week.”









The Milan striker marked his return to international football after a five-year absence with an assist when Sweden beat Georgia in a World Cup 2022 qualifier in March.

Ibrahimovic had initially hung up his boots for his nation after Euro 2016, which came the summer he joined Manchester United as a free agent.

He returned to the fold earlier this year when he featured in the World Cup qualification victories over Georgia and Kosovo respectively, while also being in the squad as an unused substitute in a friendly against Estonia.

Ibrahimovic has been in top form since joining Milan from LA Galaxy two seasons ago and he has bagged 29 goals in 48 appearances for Stefano Pioli’s side.









That has taken his remarkable club career to over 500 goals – with his first goals arriving for Malmo in 1999 – in a glorious career which has also encompassed spells at Juventus, Inter, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

Sweden reached the knockout stages of Euro 2020 after topping their group stage – which included Spain – but fell to a disappointing Round of 16 exit after being eliminated by Ukraine in extra-time.







Their qualification group for the World Cup also includes Spain, who have a four-point advantage at the top of the standings but Sweden have two games in hand.

Andersson’s side lost their last qualification match in Greece but still hold a small advantage over La Roja in the group courtesy of their home victory over Luis Enrique’s side.


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