Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the most prolific strikers in the world and the record goal scorer for Sweden has hung up his boots from international football after Sweden knocked out of the Euro Cup 2016, last night.
The 34-year old forward announced on Tuesday that Euro Cup 2016 would be his last tournament in the ‘Yellow and Blue’ Jersey as he would not represent his country at the Rio Olympics as previously thought.
Zlatan scored 62 goals in 116 matches for Sweden, and among them, the most famous were the one he scored against England 4 years ago, an unbelievable ‘bicycle kick’ from 35-yards out. He also scored the other three goals of the team and helped Sweden to win the friendly by the 4-2 scoreline. This famous goal also helped him to win the ‘Puskas Award’, the best goal of the season.
Along with his million fans and the football lovers, the Swedish coach Erik Hamren also paid his tribute and said, “In a small country like Sweden, you will not find another player like him. He’s really unique.”
In his words, Zlatan said about his retirement, “It’s heavy, it’s disappointing, but at the same time I enjoyed it. We got the possibility to play at the Euros and represent Sweden. I have many fantastic memories from the national team.”
Later the 6 feet 5-inch striker posted on his Facebook account, ” I came from this place people call “ghetto Rosengrd”, conquered Sweden and made it my country. My way. I am Sweden. A huge thank you to the Swedish people – without you, I would never have been able to fulfil my dreams. You will always be in my blue and yellow heart. I love you.”
But unlike Zlatan’s career, Sweden’s Euro Cup 2016 campaign was not all impressive. The “Blgult” only managed to draw against the Republic of Ireland and lost to Italy and Belgium. Zlatan also failed to net a single goal in this tournament.
Zlatan, who is famous for his acrobatic goals and “don’t care” attitude, made his international debut as a 19-year-old against the Faroe Islands and also scored in his first competitive match; a qualifier for the 2002 World Cup against Azerbaijan.
He made his presence felt at the international stage when he scored another infamous goal of his career, a spectacular back-heeled goal in the group stage of Euro 2004 against Italy.
Zlatan was appointed as the captain of the “Blue and Yellows” in 2012 and scored one of the best goals of the tournament with a volley in a 2-0 win over France in Euro Cup 2012. Ibrahimovic became the highest goal scorer of his country when he put the ball in the net against Estonia in a friendly match, and that was also the 50th goals of his remarkable international career.
The scorer of many wonder goals, Zlatan, single handily qualified Sweden for the Euro Cup 2016, scoring 11 goals in the qualifying stages, but his international swansong was truly an anti-climax.
Although Zlatan is calling it a day from his international career, he will continue his club career. The vicious striker who played for many reputed clubs like Ajax, both clubs of Milan, Juventus and PSG, is rumoured to join Manchester United soon after the Euro Cup.