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Zlatan Ibrahimovic tweeted Sunday about the possibility of playing for Sweden at the FIFA 2018 World Cup and sounded optimistic about his chances.
The striker has enjoyed a superb start with LA Galaxy and wrote on Twitter, “The chance of me playing in the World Cup is skyhoga.” The Swedish word “skyhoga” means “sky-high,” per Andrew Gilpin at the Mirror.
Zlatan Ibrahimović @Ibra_official
The chance of me playing in the World Cup is skyhöga #FifaWorldCup2018
The 36-year-old has three goals in three appearances since he joined the Galaxy from Manchester United in March.
He enjoyed a brilliant debut, as he inspired his team to a comeback victory against LAFC. He came on as a substitute and scored a superb long-range volley and then netted the winner in the 4-3 victory.
Ibrahimovic also scored on his first start for his new club, heading home Ashley Cole’s cross in a 1-0 win over Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Squawka Football showed the instant impact he has made in MLS:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 3 goals in 127 minutes of MLS football since joining LA Galaxy.
His goals have already been worth five points to his new side. 🦁 https://t.co/TLQGooPdLD
The striker has shown little evidence of being troubled by the knee injury that cut short his Manchester United career. He was injured in April 2017 and made his return in November 2017 but only managed another six appearances for the Red Devils before they announced they had terminated his contract early.
Ibrahimovic retired from international football in 2016 but said last week he could return, per Ian Holyman at ESPN FC: “The door is open. I feel I can do it. I know what I can do. If everything goes well, we can talk about it, but it’s not on the agenda right now.”
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Doubts had been raised over his participation in the competition because of his association with a betting organization. Such endorsements are forbidden by FIFA.
However, Ibrahimovic said that FIFA cannot prevent him from playing, per Holyman: “FIFA can’t stop me. If I want to be there, I’ll be there. It’s the same with the national team. If I want to play, I’ll play. It’s not up to FIFA. It’s up to me and what I want.”
The striker’s form at LA Galaxy has certainly been impressive and seems to have convinced Ibrahimovic he still has a role to play on the international scene.
Former footballer Stan Collymore said Sweden’s picking Ibrahimovic would send a poor message:
Stan Collymore @StanCollymore
I love Zlatan and being honest, would love to see him at another World Cup.
Just not at the expense of a player who’s turned up for every qualifier.
Sends an awful message to the rest of the squad if the manager picks him.
Sweden have been drawn in Group F for the tournament in Russia and will face Germany, Mexico and the Korea Republic. Reigning world champions Germany will be favourites to progress, while Sweden will hope to edge Mexico for the second qualification spot.
Sweden only booked their place in the competition with a shock play-off win over Italy, but without Ibrahimovic, the team has seemed more united.
Ibrahimovic, however, offers the star quality few players possess. If he makes himself available, there’s every chance he could play in Russia this summer.