Sweden’s superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced on Tuesday that he will retire from international football after Euro 2016. The amazing record goalscorer will quit this summer at the age of 34, and his last game could come as early as Wednesday night.
There had been some speculation that the striker could participate in the Rio Olympics, after he was named in an initial 35-man squad for the competition earlier this month, but Ibrahimovic also ruled that out.
“I will not participate in the Olympics because my last game will be the last game Sweden does in this Euro. So let’s hope it goes as long as possible.”
Ibrahimovic is looking forward to becoming the first player to score in four European Championship finals.
His country needs to beat Belgium on Wednesday to stand a chance of advancing to the last 16, but said he would go out with his head held high regardless of Wednesday’s result.
“To finish in a disappointment, never. Because I’m very proud to be the captain of Sweden and of what I’ve achieved
“I want to take this moment to thank all the supporters because they made it possible for me to achieve what I have achieved. Without them it would not have been possible
“So wherever I go, wherever I come, I’ll always bring the Swedish flag with me and stand with it. So for me disappointment doesn’t exist, only proudness. I’m very thankful. So thank you.”
Sweden coach Erik Hamren considers Ibrahimovic’s proposed retirement as a great loss. Hear him:
“You need a whole press conference on what I think, but of course he has made a huge contribution to the Swedish national side.
“He has been such an important figure for Swedish football as a whole. He has been fantastic for the national team, for Sweden and I think we can talk about that for hours.
“We have one international player who is at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and that is Zlatan. Zlatan is a huge character and he has really helped Swedish football. He is a big loss. He is unique,”
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Ibra is Sweden’s record scorer with 62 goals and can become its joint sixth most-capped player with 116 appearances on Wednesday.