Tuesday. 18.06.2024

Veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic said on Monday he was "ready" to play for Sweden this week if selected for the World Cup qualifier against Georgia.

Ibrahimovic was last week recalled by Sweden coach Janne Andersson for the first time since he retired from international football in 2016.

The two met in November in Milan where they discussed Ibrahimovic's interest in playing for Sweden again.

"I am just a piece among many in the jigsaw," Ibrahimovic said. "I'm here to make it better if Janne believes I can."

The 39-year-old answered several questions about his age and his  determination to continue his career as long as he felt motivated, and overcoming injury.

"I'm here because I deserve to be here," he said and added with age he had developed patience - on and off the pitch. 

"I also train very hard, I'm a training junkie," he said. 

"Biggest thing you can do"

Ibrahmovic said he fully supported Andersson's pick of Andreas Granqvist as team captain.

"To play on the national team is the biggest thing you can do as a football player," Ibrahimovic said, adding he was there "to bring results."

The return to training and playing for Sweden, however, meant being away from his family, and a tearful Ibrahimovic disclosed that one of his sons had cried when he left home.  

Sweden open their World Cup qualification at home on Thursday, hosting Georgia, and three days later play Kosovo away.

Ibrahimovic - Sweden's all-time top goalscorer - stepped down from the national squad after Euro 2016, having chalked up a record 62 goals in 116 appearances.

Ibrahimovic 'ready' to play for Sweden in World Cup qualifiers