– La Galaxy striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has insisted he will be in Russia
– But Ibra did not give a direct confirmation he will be playing for Sweeden in the event
– They have been lingering speculation for some weeks that the LA Galaxy star will come out of international retirement to play at the finals in Russia
La Galaxy striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has insisted he will be in Russia, but he did not give a direct confirmation he will play in the tournament
They have been lingering speculation for some weeks that the LA Galaxy star will come out of international retirement to play at the finals in Russia, where Sweden begin their campaign against South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod on June 18.
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Ibrahimovic shared some tweets last week which suggest his chances of going to the tournament were“sky high”, with his three goals in three appearances since moving to MLS showing he has recovered well from the knee injury that blighted his second season at Manchester United.
The former Manchester United striker has now confirmed he will be heading to the finals in two months’ time, even if the exact details of his participation remain to be seen.
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Speaking on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show, Ibra said: “I’m going to the World Cup, yes. If I say more, they will hang me, so I have to be careful what I say.
“A World Cup without me wouldn’t be a World Cup.”
“I had a vision before I came,”
“I know there are some earthquakes in Los Angeles, but this is me stepping in Los Angeles. I wanted to make a statement. Every movie has a good start.
“In Europe, football is huge, so people get crazy and they told me, ‘when you come to Los Angeles, you can walk on the street’. But it’s my own fault: if you play the way I do, I mean…
“My confidence is very high. I chose football. I’m sorry for the fans cheering for other sports, because it would be the same thing.
He added:“People are very kind with me. Football is the biggest sport in the world. Imagine when you play football, and you’re on the top, how you feel.”
Ibrahimovic was also asked about the root of his nicknames and explained why he would prefer to be called his full title.
“My name in the Balkan language means ‘gold’, so I would prefer that, but I know people have difficulty pronouncing that,” he said. “So, somebody was like ‘Ibra’, and now it’s ‘The Lion’.
“I’m not a typical Swedish guy but I put Sweden on the map.”
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Ibrahimovic made an instant impact in the United States, scoring twice on his Galaxy debut to help them to a 4-3 derby win over Los Angeles FC, with his first goal a spectacular 40-yard effort.
The former Barcelona, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain forward thinks he has already made his mark on American football and culture.
The former Manchester United superstar announced his retirement after Sweden crashed out of the 2016 UEFA European Champions at the group stage in France.
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