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sweden news

Ibrahimovic has doubts over international future

November 10, 2009
By Soccernet staff

New Sweden boss Erik Hamren has revealed that Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is considering his international future.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GettyImagesIbrahimovic has an injury, but that is not the main reason for not facing Italy

Ibrahimovic pulled out of the Sweden squad for the friendly match with Italy on November 18 and it had been thought it was due to a strained thigh muscle, but Hamren says the 28-year-old withdrew because he is unsure about his international future.

"I've spoken with Zlatan and, until he has made a decision, I won't call him to the squad," Hamren said. "I tend to think of the old saying - you can lead a horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink.

"This is something that he has been thinking about for some time. As a manager, it is important that players have the motivation to play. For me, the most important thing is that you have your heart in what you do."

Ibrahimovic's agent, Mino Raiola, was unhappy that Hamren revealed the news to the press and said he felt he ran the risk of exacerbating the situation.

"Zlatan is injured, he's worn out and he is very upset that Sweden didn't qualify for the World Cup," Raiola told Aftonbladet. "It would have been very easy just to say that he will sit out the match against Italy and then later Hamren could have sat down to discuss the matter with Zlatan."

Asked if Ibrahimovic would play for Sweden again, Raiola said: "I don't know. I respect Zlatan's decision but personally I want him to play for Sweden. Perhaps I am bit of a romantic but I think it's important for a great player to play for his country."

Hamren has revealed he expects to hold talks with Ibrahimovic before he reaches his final decision. Sweden finished below Denmark and Portugal in their World Cup qualification group.