Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the media in his country is responsible for his omission from the squad to the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
The 36-year old retired from international football after Sweden’s disappointing Euro 2016 campaign, when they were eliminated at the group stage.
Since then, the talented striker has continued to impress in front of goal with Manchester United and now LA Galaxy in the Major League Soccer.
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.
But Sweden head coach Janne Andersson snubbed him and didn’t include him in the squad for Russia 2018.
The country’s record goal-scorer however believes media coverage back home has counted against him more than his retirement.
“I think it’s the biggest party in football, playing the World Cup,”he told reporters.
“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, behaviour 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.