Recalled to Sweden at 41, Zlatan Ibrahimovic could break a record for longevity

The Milan striker, called up on Wednesday for the two games of his selection, could become the oldest player to play in a qualifying match for a European championship.

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Soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the Swedish selection shirt during a match in the qualifiers for the last World Cup against Georgia, March 25, 2021. (NILSSON NILS PETTER/AFP)

One more opportunity to leave a trace in the history of football. Aged 41 years and over five months old, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was called up on Wednesday 15 March for Euro 2024 qualifying matches against Belgium and Azerbaijan at the end of March. If he enters the field, next March 24 against the Red Devils or March 27 against the azerithe former PSG striker would become the oldest player to play in a qualifying match for a European championship.

The AC Milan player would later blow away the legendary Italian goalkeeper, Dino Zoff, who played against Sweden on May 29, 1983, aged 41 years, three months and one day. “Zlatan has made three fairly long substitutions with Milan lately and feels in decent shape despite being out for a long timecommented coach Janne Andersson in the press release announcing the Swedish selection. In this context, I think it can bring something. Especially on the pitch, but also off it”.

Back from a serious injury

Out of the field for eight months due to a ruptured cruciate ligament in his right knee, the player returned to Serie A on 26 February. Before that, the Malmö native had come off a five-year international retirement in 2021, but he and team-mates failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, with elimination in the play-offs against Poland. Despite this failure, he had shown a desire to continue as long as possible in the selection.

If Sweden qualify for the next European Championship in Germany, and if “Zlatan” takes part in a fixture, he would become by far the oldest player to play in a European finals. The record is currently held by Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, who played at Euro 2016 aged 40 years and 86 days, according to UEFA.

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