Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not come out of international retirement to play for Sweden at the World Cup.
The 36-year-old striker, who recently left Manchester United to join the LA Galaxy, had hinted that he might resume his 116-cap career with Sweden, having retired from international duty two years ago.
But in a statement published on the Swedish men’s football team’s official Instagram page on Thursday, national selectors said: “A final message: Zlatan will not play at the World Cup.
National team manager Lars Richt said on svenskfotboll.se: “I talked to Zlatan on Tuesday. He said that he has not changed his mind about the national team – it is a no.”
Ibrahimovic, who has also played for the likes of Juventus, Barcelona and Paris St Germain, went to the 2002 and 2006 tournaments and scored 62 goals for Sweden across more than a century of appearances.
Earlier this month Ibrahimovic tweeted his belief that his chances of featuring in Russia this summer were “skyhoga”, meaning sky high, and he later appeared on the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ talk show to claim: “I’m going to the World Cup, yes.”
On Wednesday he posted a video on Twitter which portrayed him coolly observing an incoming phone call from ‘Janne’ – potentially referring to Sweden head coach Janne Andersson.
Sweden, who beat Italy in a qualifying play-off to reach the finals, are in the same group as world champions Germany, Mexico and South Korea.