In another episode of Zlatan just being Zlatan, Manchester United striker and former Sweden captain said that ever since he called it time over his international career, Sweden are playing without much pressure as his departure from the national side has lowered down the team’s expectations. The often outspoken forward believes that the level of football in the Swedish national side is lowered in his absence. “Sweden are playing without pressure, because since I left, nobody expects much of them now, from the media to the fans,” Zlatan Ibrahimovic said in a statement.
When I play, the level is raised, so it is lowered in my absence,” Ibrahimovic told Sky Sport Italia. Ibrahimovic, who announced his retirement from Sweden shortly after the UEFA Euro 2016 where he headlined the games with some of his blockbuster of goals, is still his nation’s top scorer with 62 goals in 116 appearances. The PSG striker heaped praise for the current squad as they have remained a good collective. “Having said that, this squad remains a good collective, just with less responsibility on their shoulders,” the 35-year old Man Utd striker was quoted as saying.
“The players are not very experienced, but the project is ambitious,” he added. As the Swedes are gearing up for their opening 2018 World Cup play-off against 2006 World Champions Italy in Stockholm, Italian defender Danel De Rossi feels relived Ibrahimovic is not a part of the European side.
De Rossi revealed that even if the former AC Milan striker was a 40 years old with a broken leg, he would’ve still avoided the charismatic striker. “I wouldn’t play against Ibrahimovic even if he was 40 years old and with a broken leg,” De Rossi was quoted as saying. De Rossi added that an Ibrahimovic-less side is a pure advantage Italy but one should never underestimate them. “Of course, his absence is an advantage, however, Sweden are not an unknown team,” he added.