Sweden goalkeeper Karl Johan Johnsson says a potential World Cup return for Zlatan Ibrahimovic could negatively impact the team (Sweden 80/1 – World Cup 2018 Outright).
Ibrahimovic quit international football following Euro 2016 after winning 116 caps and scoring 62 goals for his country.
The former Manchester United striker made his debut in 2001 but could never lift them to international glory, with the round of 16 being the furthest he has gone at the World Cup.
However, Sweden’s unfancied qualification to the 2018 tournament in Russia, after beating Italy in the play-offs, has led to speculation the LA Galaxy man will have one last crack at international football in the summer before calling it a day.
Guingamp goalkeeper Johnsson is less enthused about the 36-year-old’s potential return, saying the balance of the squad could be harmed.
“It’s up to the coach to see if he wants to bring him. We managed to qualify and go through to the World Cup without him, and I think we can manage to play well at the World Cup without him. I’m sure if he does join, he will play well,” Johnsson told Main Opposee.
“As a team, we play as a collective, all the players together. With Zlatan, as a person, as a player, he’s an individualist, and the play goes around him.
“It’s a different style of play when you have a player like Zlatan, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in your team, because they’re world-class players, and you have to use those players to win the game and play in a special way.
“I don’t know if the coach wants such a big change because he’ll have to change the whole system of how he wants to play.”
Sweden kick off their World Cup campaign against South Korea on June 18 and Ibrahimovic, recently appearing on an American chat show, was as bullish as ever about a potential summer return (Sweden 11/10, draw 11/5, South Korea 13/5 – Match Odds).
Odds subject to change.