Zlatan Ibrahimovic shed a few tears of pride as he discussed his upcoming return to Sweden’s national team for their World Cup qualifiers after a five-year absence.
The 39-year-old, who quit international football after Euro 2016, choked up when asked what his sons, Maximilian, 14, and Vincent, 12, thought of his decision to answer his country’s call again and return to the world stage.
“Vincent cried when I left him,” Ibrahimovic told a news conference before shedding a few tears himself.
The AC Milan striker is Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 116 games, and Sweden coach Janne Andersson quickly flew to Milan to sort out the terms for the former captain’s return once he learned of Ibrahimovic’s interest.
Ibrahimovic was deferential towards Andersson, who he has clashed with in the past.
“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 added.
“Obviously it’s not up to me, what a player wants and what a coach wants, it has to go together.
“I’ve got the opportunity now to play for my country and I do it with honour, but it’s not only about that – it sounds like I’m only happy to be here, but I’m here to get results, to bring results for the coach and my team-mates and the whole country.
“As much as I talk here, if I don’t bring results, here it means nothing.”
Sweden host Georgia in their first 2022 World Cup qualifier on Thursday before visiting Kosovo three days later and rounding off with a friendly against Estonia.