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Zlatan Ibrahimovic defiantly trying to force way into Sweden's Euro 2020 squad despite injury

FOOTBALL By Mirror | May 19th 2021
Sweden's forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic [AFP, Vicenzo Pinto]

Iconic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had tongues wagging on Wednesday afternoon after his post on social media left fans hoping he might still make Euro 2020 despite being left out of Sweden’s squad.

Last week Sweden coach Janne Andersson stated Ibrahimovic had been ruled out of Euro 2020 due to the knee injury he suffered playing for AC Milan in a win at Juventus on May 9.

And Ibrahimovic’s absence appeared to be confirmed on Tuesday night when he was left out of Sweden’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Ibrahimovic posted a video of him on an exercise bike in Milan with the caption: ‘It’s not over until I say It’s over.’

And if that wasn’t enough to get fans of the charismatic striker excited about a surprise call-up should there be any injuries within the squad, Sweden FA’s response to the post, with two clapping hands, just added further fuel to the fire.

The post has been interpreted by many to mean Ibrahimovic has not given up hope of making Euro 2020.

Whether there is another meaning only the 39-year-old will know, but the chance of seeing Ibrahimovic at another major tournament is cause for excitement.

Ibrahimovic is Sweden’s record goalscorer, with 62 goals in 118 appearances, but had announced his international retirement following Euro 2016, when his country exited the group stage on the back of two defeats and a draw.

However, in March the former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker was called up following a five-year absence and grabbed assists in both matches he has played since – the 1-0 victory over Georgia and a 3-0 win over Kosovo.

Ibrahimovic is one of football’s truly unique characters and marked his coming out of retirement by tweeting: ‘The return of the God’.

Sweden’s inclusion of the ex-Man United frontman was not simply sentiment for a man who first made his international debut more than 20 years ago.

Ibrahimovic has been in excellent form for AC Milan when fit this season, scoring 17 goals in 27 appearances in all competitions, including 15 in 19 Serie A games.

However, he did miss two months of the season through injury and earlier this month was forced off against Juventus with a knee problem, which reports suggested at the time needed surgery.

A week later his national coach Andersson said: “I spoke to Zlatan Ibrahimovic today, who unfortunately told me his injury will prevent his participation in the European Championship this summer.

“Of course it is sad, especially for Zlatan, but for us too. I hope that he is back on the pitch again as soon as possible.”

But today’s Instagram post and Sweden’s response means fans have not given up hope just yet.

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