Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns to Sweden squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers at 41

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Despite spending most of the season out recovering from knee surgery, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in the Sweden fold at the age of 41.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to return to international duty with Sweden after he was selected for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Belgium and Azerbaijan.

The Milan forward spent most of the season on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery at the end of the 2021-22 season following the Serie A triumph.

Despite playing just over an hour in three games since his return this year, the 41-year-old has been included in Janne Andersson’s latest squad.

Speaking about his decision to bring in the veteran despite questions about his fitness, the coach hailed the forward’s impact off the pitch and stressed he would have a role to play on it.

“Zlatan and I were in contact all the time until his injury,” he said.

“Now he feels well enough to come into the team.

“His personality and leadership qualities are good off the pitch but the idea is for him to come in and contribute. I wouldn’t have picked him otherwise.

Ibrahimovic’s last appearance for Sweden came almost a year ago when the country were knocked out by Poland in the Qatar 2022 World Cup play-offs.

He was then a substitute and Andersson admits he is likely to play a role from the bench again when called upon for upcoming games.

“I don’t see him as a starting player,” he added. “It will be more like what it was for him in Milan, that there are opportunities for him to jump.

Andersson went on to stress that Ibrahimovic’s selection will not be the last time he is called up despite his advanced age and says the ball is in the player’s court regarding his international future.

“If you are at a level where you can play for Milan, you are relevant,” he added.

“It’s also about his own attitude as to whether he wants to continue or not. Zlatan is very eager and wants to contribute.”

With 121 caps, Ibrahimovic is the sixth most capped player in Swedish history, although he still has some way to go if he is to surpass former midfielder Anders Svensson’s all-time record of 148 caps.