Ibrahimovic has managed to stay injury-free for the Swedish national team’s important week.
A ticket to the World Cup hangs in the balance when Sweden meet the Czech Republic in the playoff semi-finals and possibly Poland in the final.
Ibrahimovic was suspended for the match against the Czech Republic, but he remains important with his presence and his experience.
It also shone when Ibrahimovic met NRK and the Swedish press in Stockholm on Tuesday.
Ibrahimovic alternated between long, well-worded answers and self-mockery, and he feared that these were the Youngthe new players who are now the stars.
Next to him sat Manchester United player Anthony Elanga (19).
– When did the change take place? That the others have become the stars and not you? asked a Swedish journalist.
“I’m still the star,” Ibrahimovic said smiling.
– When you reach a certain age and you have lived so much, you see the youngest emerge. 20-21 years ago, I was where Elanga is. Then I was in a different situation. I went through all that. Now I can push others as others pushed me. They are second generation. I am here to help them, Ibrahimovic said.
Noticed one thing
Ibrahimovic was also in the same situation as Erling Braut Haaland.
The Malmö striker was 20 when he moved to Ajax before going to Juventus, Inter and Barcelona. – to only cite a few.
The Swede tells NRK that Haaland’s potential is ‘bigger than ever’. He says he particularly noticed one thing about Haaland:
– What I saw is that he likes to score goals. It’s not a secret. He does everything to score. He is not satisfied with it. He will score one, two, three and four. And I think Haaland is a very smart player. He does what he is good at. He doesn’t try to exaggerate by doing things he shouldn’t or can’t do, Ibrahimovic believes.
The 40-year-old continues to draw parallels with former Feyenoord, Celtic and Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson.
– He did what he was good at. He didn’t try to dribble four or five players or anything like that. He was smart and did exactly what he was supposed to do. Haaland reminds me of that intelligence when it comes to doing what you can do. He is focused on scoring goals. It’s straight to the point. The next step for him is to come to another club and do what he is doing now, says Ibrahimovic.
Where Ibrahimovic sees clear similarities in mindset, national team manager Ståle Solbakken points out that Larsson and Haaland are different types of players.
– “Henke” was a player who liked to fall more on the pitch, and who could just as well play behind a striker and be more of a kind of playmaker, at the same time as he was a scorer. He didn’t have the raw backstage physicality and outbursts that Erling has at his best, says Solbakken, who at the same time underscores how much Larsson has achieved in his career.
– There is no hopeless comparison, but they are a little different, says Solbakken.
– It’s a matter of intuition
Ibrahimovic is now back at AC Milan, who currently lead Serie A with a three-point gap over Napoli.
In total, he played for seven different top clubs in six different countries.
However, he struggles to know what will suit Haaland best.
– I think it’s a matter of intuition. Only he can answer that. We are all different characters and individuals. If you ask me, I have an answer, and if you ask him, he may have another answer. I don’t know what his ambitions are and I don’t know him privately. What does he want with football? What traces will he leave? I don’t know because I don’t know him, but I think he will take the next step to move to another level, says Ibrahimovic.
Which club should Haaland choose?
Same is Ibrahimovic not sure what will happen next.
He does not yet know if there is an end to his career in the national team if Sweden not comes to the World Cup, and he also doesn’t know what will happen after the summer.
At the same time, he’s been open that he’s a little freaked out about not playing football anymore.
– The adrenaline I have now on the track, I can’t replace it. No chance. This is where the panic strikes. That’s why I want to continue as long as possible. I will enjoy it and continue as long as I feel good, said Ibrahimovic.
– Is there any mourning associated with this?
– There’s no more sorrow for you, ’cause you won’t see me “Live” in the field. You can enjoy it while I’m in the field, because you’ll never see anything like it again. You can see Elanga, with all due respect, but not Ibrahimovic, the 40-year-old said smiling and extending his hand to Elanga.
– So take advantage of it while you can.
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