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Zlatan considers quitting Sweden's national side

David Landes · 10 Nov 2009, 12:15

Published: 10 Nov 2009 12:15 GMT+01:00

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Ibrahimovic’s claim to being Sweden’s top male football talent was affirmed once again at a Monday night ceremony held in his hometown of Malmö where he took home an unprecedented fourth Golden Ball, awarded annually by the Aftonbladet newspaper and the Swedish Football Association.

But the moment was a bittersweet one for Ibrahimovic supporters, who had just heard the news that the Barcelona forward was not among the players picked to represent Sweden in its upcoming friendly against Italy, in part due to lingering doubts about his future with the Swedish national team.

Earlier in the evening, new national side coach Erik Hamrén cited Ibrahimovic’s misgivings as one of the reasons he had decided to leave the star out of the squad.

“He has doubts about his future with the national team and until he has made a decision, I won't call him up to the squad,” Hamrén said at a press conference announcing the squad for what will be his first match at the helm.

“This is something that he has been thinking about for some time," said Hamrén, emphasizing that the decision had nothing to do with his taking over as national team trainer from Lars Lagerbäck.

Hamrén added that the news, received during a phone conversation with Ibrahimovic on Sunday, had taken him by surprise.

“I had hoped for a better start,” said Hamrén, adding that he plans to meet with Ibrahimovic face-to-face to further discuss his decision.

While Ibrahimovic’s doubts were news to Hamrén, both national team players and officials had known of his concerns for some time.

“He has told us he wanted to think about what he would do about the national team. The issue has been out there since September,” said national team technical director Lars Richt to the Expressen newspaper.

Teammate and friend Olof Mellberg told the newspaper he had also had previous conversations with Ibrahimovic about his future with the national team.

“The thoughts have been around for awhile. It’s obviously not a decision he’s going to make overnight,” said Mellberg.

On Tuesday, Ibrahimovic’s agent Mio Raiola criticized Hamrén for discussing his client’s reservations publicly.

Story continues below…

“A player of Zlatan’s dignity is allowed to reflect in peace and quiet without pressuring him in this way,” Raiola told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“Zlatan is injured, tired, and very disappointed that Sweden failed to qualify for the World Cup. It would have been natural to simply say that he would skip the Italy match. Then when things had calmed down the new national team trainer could have come down and met with Zlatan to discuss things.”

But Hamrén defended bringing up Ibrahimovic’s concerns at the press conference, telling the newspaper that he and Ibrahimovic had come to an agreement that the new coach would “tell it like it is”.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:13 November 10, 2009 by DreEstwd
GOOD! 100% guaranteed they will play better without him.
13:32 November 10, 2009 by peruzzijay
Trying to catch some attention i guess!!! been a long time he was in any controversy.. Nice try man:P
13:46 November 10, 2009 by pcs
He(Zlatan)is over rated and cannot play in the northern european TEAM game. I watched Sweden play internationally and domestically and his style of football just does not cut it. Stay in southern europe. The Sweden team will be better of without him.
13:51 November 10, 2009 by Rick Methven
His contribution to the team has always been very good.

Whats wrong DreEstwd? Hashe the wrong colour or Name
14:19 November 10, 2009 by just a question
Zlatan is doing a fantastic job in Barcelona. He doesn't need to catch any attention. Maybe is just that he doesn't want to come back to Sweden :)
14:24 November 10, 2009 by Jauman
Your comments above are as unfair as what argentinians are doing with Messi blamming him about the poor results of their national team, but come on, one player cannot solve the problems of a whole team .

Zlatans quality is obvious, and for me as a Barça supporter, would be a good new that he dont have to waste his time any more
14:40 November 10, 2009 by bravedave
Zlatan is an ego-maniac, everyone knows that and he probably thinks he is too good to play for the national team, every time the loose or fail to qualify for a major tournement it damages his ego, and he doesnt know if he can take much more.
14:47 November 10, 2009 by just a question
Well, Zlatan doesn't seem to have this problem with his ego in Spain. So his ego-mania is only mentioned by the Swedish newspapers. He is doing a great job and Barcelona supporters really love him.

It's normal that he wants to focus in what is really important.
15:14 November 10, 2009 by Argentina84
I think that players such as Zlatan and Messi no longer really want to play for their countries and therefore they do not play as well as they do for their clubs. They earn more money scoring for Barcelona, of course!!! So I wish the national coaches left them alone and picked the young guys with no big-star reputation but with a lot of hunger to win (and not hunger for money) for their people.
15:39 November 10, 2009 by Thompsuleme
Its not easy playing for a shitty team like the swedish right now, especially if ur like zlatan, Imagine the Dahlin- brolin era, with anderssons and the keeper? I was in africa then as a kid but i loved them and followed them because they were a GREAT TEAM. Now there is too much on Zlatan just like H.Larsson before and not everyman can carry that burden.

He has a right to think about it, but in the end he will remain loyal, The trainer was wrong to bring this public even if zlata agreed. Im not an Ibra fan but I understand it a bit and u swedes better cut him some slack!
15:47 November 10, 2009 by bigboy
Zlatan has english players disease, where playing for your club is more important than your country. It is a shame that money rules over national pride.
17:10 November 10, 2009 by Per Fritz
Since when has "Ibrahimovic" been a Swedish name?
17:50 November 10, 2009 by Kaethar
Since when has "Fritz" been a Swedish name?
17:54 November 10, 2009 by DreEstwd
Rick Meth, you are fixated on nationality. I think that you are racist against white people. Even though he is only half-Swedish he still plays for the team....well, those are the wrong words I guess since he really only plays for himself but you know what I mean. They will be far better off without him. In just about a year, Toivonen will be a suitable replacement.
19:10 November 10, 2009 by Rick Methven

ZLATAN IS SWEDISH - BORN IN SWEDEN WITH A SWEDISH PASSPORT, thats the only way he can play for Sweden.

How can I, a whiteBritish man, be 'racist against white people'?

You should stop taking whatever your on its destroying whatever small bit of brain you may once have had
19:15 November 10, 2009 by peruzzijay
Come on guys!! is this report all about name or Zlatan??? we are talking about a paper-lion here trying to make the swedish team better. his presence there makes them lose, coz he has always taught he was more than the entire team.

Maybe Barca needs him better, who cares????
19:17 November 10, 2009 by vicarno
Since when has "Ibrahimovic" been a Swedish name? What does that imply Fritz.....Post what you really mean.. DreEstwd tagged him half Swede. I can understand not many native Swedes have a soft spot for this rare gem. What has his name or colour got to do with playing good football. Nuckle heads.
19:23 November 10, 2009 by DreEstwd
Rick Meth, Zlatan himself would tell you that he is only half-Swedish. Plus, he could have been born in one place and play for another. Just look at Eduardo, Deco and many other similar examples.

And indeed you are racist against white people. Anytime a situation that comes up involving a non-white person you are always on the side of that person...even if that person happens to be guilty of violent crime, rape or whatever else.

Let's face it, he's talented but he is an extremely selfish player. He doesn't score important goals. He doesn't make his teammates better. Good riddance.
19:35 November 10, 2009 by vicarno

He doesn't score important goals. But he did score a very important goal recently during the just concluded qualifiers, few minutes to end of the match. Refresh your memory. You dont cruxify this guy just because we are out of the world cup, 2014 is around the corner.
21:25 November 10, 2009 by tigger007
i have noticed that some swedes and nonchampions are saying bad things about zlantan. i think he's a great player and i don't like soccer all that much. true champions have this ego about them and this swagger that lets people know that i'm the man on the field of play. if zlatan was an american he would be celebrated like other top american sportsman. i have noticed that scandinavians don't like this creative and individuality in their sportsman. to be a true champion you MUST have these two concepts in your life.(michael jordan,tiger woods,wayne G, and others) henrik larsson is a great player but his name won't be on the minds of players and fans as one of the top greats of soccer.(he would make the top 25 but not the top 10). as an american sportsman i do understand zlatan's stress!!
21:59 November 10, 2009 by Iraniboy

One can say the same thing about you. Whenever there is an incident reported in thelocal.se, you ask for the ethnicity of the the peron involved, when it turns white you disappear!!

He is defenitely very good and pride for himself, family, towns, Sweden,...But a others mentioned, this incidents happen for big players and they'd rather play well for their clubs rather than national teams.
22:22 November 10, 2009 by HejHej
The heading should be " Sweden considers kicking Zlatan out from the national team"
22:36 November 10, 2009 by Per Johansson52
It is all about money.... once players gets famous they have good market everywhere...
23:47 November 10, 2009 by DreEstwd

What are you talking about? Sometimes I ask for the ethnicity of suspected criminals so that the public can be on the lookout for those people. I don't really care what ethnicity they are as long as they are off the streets. For example, the serial rapist in Göteborg. I suppose you are fine with the way things are since it prevents the public from knowing how many Middle Eastern immigrants are actually committing crimes. As far as me running from anything you are kidding yourself.

Wasn't this thread about Zlatan before Rick Meth and Iraniboy hijacked this thread and turned it into a race issue......yet again?
06:54 November 11, 2009 by Rick Methven

"Rick Meth and Iraniboy hijacked this thread and turned it into a race issue......yet again?"

Comming from the most blatant racist posting on TL that is really funny LOL
10:55 November 11, 2009 by Anas86
I dont think he wants to quit the national team,he just wants to stop for a while so everyone sees what is the team worth without him, then come back like a ZORRO and qualify sweden for the européan cup in 2012, like zidane did with france in 2006. the only diffrence is that zidane left the national team because noone showed him that he was wanted,they realised later that they were wrong. with zlatan its different,he is more making a drama so people show him that he is beautiful talented and that the national team cant live without him.
11:29 November 11, 2009 by krigeren
Understanding his background a bit and spending a fair deal of time with people who come from Rosengard I often wonder why he would want to play for the Swedish team at all?

If I were him I would not feel Swedish. Have no Swedish pride or affinity or attraction to the country. If I were in his shoes and my agent told me "Hey, play for the Swedish team..we will increase your brand worth" then I would do it and laugh all the way to the bank. Flag wavers regardless of what flag have been indoctrinated and brainwashed by their government, anyone with such a weak mind is a great audience to try and sell something to.

Then again I have a natural distrust of large companies and government. Governments tax, send its youth off to wars, study the population on how to best manipulate them...I am all about the individual...in my mind Zlatan can and should do whatever he so chooses..he is talented and has a large enough set of balls to do just that.
13:23 November 11, 2009 by DreEstwd
@Rick Meth-

Instead of just resorting to calling me a "racist" when you can't debate using facts or statistics....why don't you just not respond? It's a lot better than coming off like the 8 year old you make yourself sound like.
16:12 November 11, 2009 by Rick Methven

Most eight year olds I know have twice the IQ that you display which makes your metal age about 4. Hang on a bit... I know a couple of 4 year olds....

The only way to deal with nasty little bigots like you is with scorn
22:41 November 11, 2009 by Dinaricman
He is half Croat and Half Bosnian. He should go play for Croatia they need him. He might have some Avar in him but I'm not sure. He doesn't look like a beatiful Dinaric like me.

I think he might go play for Bosnia someday. But as things are Bosnia might not exist in the future.
17:16 November 12, 2009 by DreEstwd
The bottom line is this- Some players consider playing for their national team as an honor. Actually, many players dream their whole careers of it and never get the the chance. Then you have players like Zlatan who consider it an annoyance. Put Zlatan on a mediocre club team such as Fullham, Palermo or Atletico Bilbao and he would be just an average goalscorer. Again, he doesn't make his teammates better and his attitude in general is anti-team. I repeat, good riddance.

And Rick Meth said- " The only way to deal with nasty little bigots like you is with scorn "

Rick, this should say, "The only way I can deal with it when people disagree with my ultra-left wing point of view is with scorn because I have no real argument to provide."
22:59 November 12, 2009 by Iraniboy

According to FIFA tules he can never play for any other national teams once he has played in Swedish national team.


Congatulations for your great finding! What is next on your facts? Most rapists are born in the Summer? I'm sorry to say this but if you're not racist you suffer from every-bad-thing-comes-from-nonwhite-people syndrome.
14:29 November 15, 2009 by Kaethar
It would be sad but I can understand why he'd choose to focus on Barca. And he'd probably do a Henrik Larsson in time for the big tournaments anyway.

No he wouldn't. Feel free to ask him yourself.

He has said several times that he feels 100% Swedish. He says the only thing that makes him different from the norm is his mentality and the fiery temperament he inherited from his father. Identifying as 100% Swedish if you're the child of immigrants is fairly unusual, but not unheard of. It's also unusual to identify only with your ethnicity and not with your nationality. Most will identify with both.

What does living in Rosenård have to do with anything? It's not like it's an ethnic enclave - it's a multicultural enclave. Sweden doesn't have much of a problem with ethnic enclaves although that's starting now with the mass-arrival of Iraqi refugees. Germany has for years had an ethnic enclave problem with its Turkish population. They often identify only has Turkish if they only ever really interact with turks. In Sweden's most segregated areas people interact with people of OTHER ethnic backgrounds which creates the Swedish identity - although some are in denial about this identity and that's where the creation of the "blatte" identity comes from.
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