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AC Milan

Zlatan sets sights on World Cup 2022 appearance

The forward has come out of international retirement and is in line for play for his country on Thursday

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is targeting playing at the 2022 World Cup, as he wants to erase a failure point on his CV.

The forward has returned to the national side, and is in line to make his first appearance for his country since facing Belgium at the European Championship in 2016 when Sweden take on Georgia on Thursday.

Ibrahimovic said it was an emotional moment for him and his family when he left home to link up with the national side, and is targeting an extended run with Sweden.

What has been said?

In his two World Cup appearances, in 2002 and 2006, the forward drew a blank – and he wants a goal at international football’s biggest tournament on his record.

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“That is something I will beat because I can’t have a zero,” Ibrahimovic said. “Looking too far ahead is dangerous. I must think more about what happens the next day.

“But If I feel the way I do today, I will be there.”

Recalling the moment he left his sons Vincent and Maximilian, Ibrahimovic added: “Vincent cried when I left him.

“To play in the national team is the biggest thing you can do as a football player, and as I was following them [Sweden], inside me I was feeling I think I can help them, I think I can do something.”

Ibrahimovic’s record with Sweden

The 39-year-old, who will be 41 by the time the 2022 World Cup comes around, has 62 goals to his record from 116 international appearances.

His first cap for his country came against the Faroe Islands in 2001, and he has appeared in two World Cups and four European Championships.

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Barring injuries, he will make a fifth European Championship appearance this summer – with coach Janne Andersson’s Sweden paired with Poland, Slovakia and Spain in Group E.

Ibra’s club future

Ibrahimovic’s current agreement with AC Milan is coming to an end, but the club have spoken positively about extending and the forward seems happy with the direction talks are going.

“I’m optimistic about the extension,” he said. “The team-mates are like my children.

“This is the atmosphere we have created and why we are doing well. I want to continue at Milan and improve, the project is exciting.”

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