Zlatan Ibrahimovic has unfinished business at the World Cup.
The striker has come out of international retirement at the age of 39 and is set to play his first match for Sweden since 2016 when the team plays a World Cup qualifier against Georgia in Stockholm.
Ibrahimovic’s initial aim is to play for Sweden at the continent-wide European Championship starting in June but looming further in the distance is the World Cup in Qatar that takes place in November and December 2022 — when he will be 41.
Ibrahimovic has played in two World Cup finals — in 2002 and ’06 — and never scored a goal. He wants to fill that gap on his bulging resume.
“That is something I will beat because I can’t have a zero,” Ibrahimovic said, smiling. “Looking too far ahead is dangerous. I must think more about what happens the next day. … But If I feel the way I do today, I will be there.”
The AC Milan striker interspersed moments of typical brashness — “If you ask me, I’m the best in the world,” he said — with moments of humility as he spoke for nearly an hour at a news conference at the Friends Arena in Stockholm. He even appeared to weep as he recalled saying farewell to his family before travelling to Sweden for the upcoming games against Georgia, Kosovo and Estonia.
Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s record scorer with 62 goals from 112 appearances, said he had missed playing for the national team and was as enthusiastic as he has ever been.