ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC has been urged to sensationally come out of retirement for the World Cup.
Sweden shocked the planet by beating Italy 1-0 over two legs to book their place at Russia 2018.
Marcus Berg has been the man tasked with filling the veteran Manchester United striker’s boots up front.
And Berg, who plays for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, has made a good impression with eight goals in qualifying.
But calls have been made for 36-year-old Ibra – Sweden’s all-time top scorer – to lace up his boots and drive the nation’s bid for World Cup glory.
He marked his nation’s triumph by posting a picture of the team celebrating, captioned: “We are Zweden.”
And his agent, Mino Raiola, said: “If it were up to me, I would give him to you.”
But the feeling is not unanimous.
Sweden manager Janne Andersson blasted: “This is incredible! This player [Ibrahimovic] has just stopped to play with Sweden one year and a half ago and we are still here talking about him.
“Gosh, we need to talk about the great players we have in this team I believe.”
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He added: “When Ibrahimovic was here with us we played a different style of football.
“Considering that he has decided to leave international football, he is a great champion, but we had to adapt and found another style.”
Sweden legend Kurt Hamrin agrees with Andersson that the team has found a winning formula WITHOUT their old talisman.
He said: “I think it’s almost better that Sweden are playing without Ibrahimovic, because he was a pain on the pitch.
“The whole team was just working to get him in a position to create something and he didn’t always manage it.
“Obviously, when he was at 100 per cent and it paid off, that was fine, but when he had fitness problems, he was almost always a weight on their shoulders.
“The team is different without Ibrahimovic. It might not be able to count on his moment of magic, but there are 11 players fighting hard.
“Ibra is someone who plays only for himself and makes sure the rest of the team does too.”
Last night’s result may have left the Sweden squad crying tears of joy, but it was heartbreak for their Italian counterparts.
It spelled the end of Gianluigi Buffon’s international career.
The Juventus keeper, 39, wept as he bowed out of the Italy squad without being able to add to his 2006 World Cup winners’ medal.
But Ibrahimovic, who spent two years playing alongside the legendary stopper in Turin, said: “Buffon can cry as much as he wants but the fact is Sweden deserved to go through so please appreciate them.”
Ibrahimovic, who is expected to return from injury for United before Christmas, retired from international duty after Sweden were knocked out of Euro 2016 in June.
A 1-0 defeat to Belgium in Nice meant the Scandinavians finished bottom of Group E.
Ibrahimovic said: “It feels heavy. It feels disappointing but at the same time I enjoyed it.
“We had the possibility of playing in the European Championships, I represented Sweden at this tournament so at the same time I am proud.
“This was my last game and I have many fantastic memories of the national team.
“It is a nice story as where I came from, what people called the little ghetto, I made the country my country. Sweden.”
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Diego Simeone’s representatives ‘contact Everton over manager’s role’ fuelling speculation that he could be set to leave Atletico Madrid
DIEGO SIMEONE has been linked once again with the Everton job after news the Atletico Madrid manager’s representatives reportedly contacted the Toffees about the vacant manager’s position. According to reports, the 47-year-old’s team have been in contact with the Everton board over the vacant berth on Merseyside, after Ronald Koeman was sacked a month ago. It […]
DIEGO SIMEONE has been linked once again with the Everton job after news the Atletico Madrid manager’s representatives reportedly contacted the Toffees about the vacant manager’s position.
According to reports, the 47-year-old’s team have been in contact with the Everton board over the vacant berth on Merseyside, after Ronald Koeman was sacked a month ago.
It had been widely reported Everton were the ones in contact with Simeone, but now it seems the truth was it was the other way around.
Simeone’s tenure in the Spanish capital appears to be coming to an end, with the club stagnating under a transfer embargo and the fans booing their star striker.
Atletico drew 0-0 with rivals Real Madrid over the weekend and look highly unlikely to progress in the Champions League after falling behind Chelsea and AS Roma in Group C.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton were contacted by the Argentinian’s representatives, as he looks like he has his eye on a sensational move to the Premier League.
The thought of highly-rated Simeone managing in the opposite dugout to Jurgen Klopp in a Merseyside derby is a mouthwatering prospect.
The former Inter Milan, Lazio and Atletico midfielder had appeared to suggest star forward Antoine Griezmann could be on his way out of the Wanda Metropolitano after scoring just four goals so far this term.
Diego Costa is also coming in for the club in January after leaving Chelsea, but there will be question marks over his fitness from the off.
But Simeone did back Griezmann ahead of their clash with Roma.
He said: “It is normal that he is worried.
“He needs a goal. It has been many games since he scored, he’s had chances but when he doesn’t score, he suffers, as do the team and the fans.
“We have to give him confidence and calm. At some point it will all return to normal.”
Champions League: All five English clubs are favourites to top their groups – but they may not be happy with result
ALL of England’s Champions League contenders go into the final round of matches in pole position to top their groups. But their joy could well be short lived if they look at what’s in store for them. Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are all sitting pretty and, should, ensure a first-place finish and […]
ALL of England’s Champions League contenders go into the final round of matches in pole position to top their groups.
But their joy could well be short lived if they look at what’s in store for them.
Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are all sitting pretty and, should, ensure a first-place finish and theoretically an easier draw.
But Spurs’ run has thrown up a huge potential road block for their Premier League rivals in defending champions Real Madrid.
Los Blancos have been struggling for form this season but their 6-0 demolition of Apoel Nicosia proved they are starting to click.
And with ex-Spurs flier Gareth Bale likely to be fit for the knock-out stages – barring another major set-back – Zinedine Zidane’s team will be increasingly dangerous.
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As it stands, German giants Bayern Munich, beaten finalists Juventus and in-form Roma are all potential opponents for Spurs, who cannot face Real.
And if the tables remain if they are, the unseeded runners-up pool is arguably far stronger than the group winners.
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United are unlikely to slip into second as they would need to be turned over by CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford, with Basel topping Benfica.
Tottenham are all-but guaranteed top spot as they prepare to welcome Apoel to Wembley, while City have already topped their group.
Chelsea and Liverpool have the biggest chance of being knocked from their perch.
The Reds are just a point ahead of Sevilla but have a decent tie at home to Spartak Moscow.
Antonio Conte’s Blues host fired-up Atletico Madrid who need a victory and Roma to slip up against Qarabag to progress afetr they beat the Italians last night.
Copa Libertadores final: Gremio vs Lanus live stream, kick-off time and TV channel for the first leg
GREMIO take on Lanus as they look to win the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 1995. The Brazilians have made it to their first final in ten years after beating Barcelona, of Ecuador, 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-final. A 3-0 win in Guayaquil was enough to put Renato Gaucho’s side out of […]
GREMIO take on Lanus as they look to win the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 1995.
The Brazilians have made it to their first final in ten years after beating Barcelona, of Ecuador, 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-final.
A 3-0 win in Guayaquil was enough to put Renato Gaucho’s side out of site and ensure a 1-0 loss at home in the second leg was purely academic.
Argentines Lanus made it to their first ever final in more dramatic fashion, losing 1-0 away to River Plate and then finding themselves 2-0 down at home after 23 minutes of the second leg.
But Jorge Almiron’s side then scored four goals without reply to sensationally secure their place in the final.
When is Gremio vs Lanus?
Gremio host Lanus on Wednesday, November 22.
The match will kick off at 11.45pm GMT.
That’s 9.45pm in Porto Alegre and 8.45pm in Buenos Aires.
It will take place at the Arena do Gremio.
What TV channel is Gremio vs Lanus on?
Gremio vs Lanus will not be on television in the UK.
But you can keep up to date with the biggest stories from the match on SunSport.
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