WORLD CUP 2018 Ibra won’t go to Rus­sia

Daily Star - - Sports - By JEREMY CROSS

ZLATAN Ibrahi­movic will not come out of in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment for the World Cup next sum­mer.

He quit af­ter Swe­den were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the group stage. But af­ter the Swedes shocked Italy on Mon­day to reach the fi­nals in Rus­sia, spec­u­la­tion was rife that the Manch­ester United striker was con­sid­er­ing a come­back. Star­sport un­der­stands that Ibrahi­movic, 36, has no in­ten­tion of re­vers­ing his de­ci­sion de­spite Swe­den’s play-off win. Ibrahi­movic won 116 caps and fin­ished as Swe­den’s all­time record scorer with 62 goals. He has been side­lined since March af­ter dam­ag­ing knee lig­a­ments but has com­pleted his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and stepped up his train­ing with a view to re­turn­ing to ac­tion next month. Af­ter Mon­day’s ® goal­less draw sent Italy out 1-0 on ag­gre­gate, Swedish boss Janne An­der­s­son was asked about the like­li­hood of Ibrahi­movic re­turn­ing.

He said: “This player has stopped play­ing with Swe­den one year and a half ago and we are still talk­ing about him.

“We need to talk about the great play­ers we have in this team. When Ibrahi­movic was here with us we played a dif­fer­ent style of foot­ball.

“Con­sid­er­ing that he has de­cided to leave in­ter­na­tional foot­ball, he is a great cham­pion, but we had to adapt and found an­other style.”

Ibrahi­movic’s United team­mate Paul Pogba is tar­get­ing a first team re­turn this week­end. The mid­fielder has been out since the sec­ond week of Septem­ber with a ham­string in­jury but hopes to fea­ture at home to New­cas­tle on Satur­day.

SWEDE DID IT: Seb Lars­son cel­e­brates af­ter reach­ing the fi­nals LOOK­ING ON: Zlatan and (left) United boss Jose Mour­inho at the first leg in Stock­holm LEG­END: Ibra with Swe­den

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