Copenhagen, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic became emotional Monday when asked about the reaction of his sons – Maximilian, 14, and Vincent, 12 – to his return to the Swedish national team four years after retiring from international play.
“It is not a good question. I was with Vincent and he cried when I left him. But everything is OK, OK,” a teary Ibrahimovic said.
Sweden turned to the 39-year-old for World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo and a friendly against Estonia.
Ibra, who last played for his country in the 2016 European Championships, agreed to come out of international retirement after a conversation with coach Janne Andersson, whom he had criticized in the past for excluding foreign-born Swedes from the national side.
He said that none of his family or friends expressed any reservations when he talked to them about playing again for Sweden.
“To play in the national team is the biggest thing you can do as a football player, and as I was following them (Sweden), inside me I was feeling I think I can help them, I think I can do something,” Ibrahimovic said.
Though he is the national team’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 116 games, he insisted that his past achievements were not relevant.
“I don’t want to be considered and called up for what I did before, but for what I can give now,” Ibra said. “I can’t be the player I was five, 10, 15 or 20 years ago. Now, I have a completely different physique and a completely different game.”
“But I keep a very high level. You don’t have to worry. I’m not on the squad list because my name is Zlatan and I’m Ibrahimovic. It’s because of what I add to the squad and what I have achieved. I think I deserve it,” he said.
Ibra said that he would have regretted it within a year if he had turned down the national team.