Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the Swedish media are responsible for his World Cup omission.
Ibrahimovic retired from international football after Sweden’s underwhelming Euro 2016 campaign, when they were eliminated at the group stage.
Since then, the fiery striker has continued to impress in front of goal with Manchester United and now LA Galaxy and he appeared to be eager on a return to the Sweden team for the World Cup, hinting several times that he would play in Russia.
Coach Janne Andersson then shut the door on Ibrahimovic in April, saying in an interview: “If you rejected the team, I do not think you should come back.”
But Sweden’s record goal-scorer thinks media coverage back home has counted against him more than his retirement.
Speaking to reporters, Ibrahimovic said: “I think it’s the biggest party in football, playing the World Cup.
“All the best players are there. Zlatan is not there, so… He should be there, but he’s not there.
“The media says they [Sweden’s team] are better without me, so that’s why I believe in them.
“This is the Swedish media mentality. I don’t have a typical Swedish name. I’m not the typical Swedish attitude, behavior and that, but still I have the [goal-scoring] record in the national team.
“Still I won what I won; still I played in Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, [AC] Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and now LA Galaxy.
“So, if you don’t know how to do it collectively, why did you play in the biggest teams in the world, and you won? So, I know how to win, trust me. And I do it good.”
Sweden have been drawn into Group F alongside Germany, Mexico and South Korea.