Sweden confirm Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not play at 2018 World Cup

The chances of Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming out of global retirement for the World Cup have all but evaporated.

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic has previously said no to playing for the national team - and he hasn't changed his mind".

Speaking last week, Anderson said he had not spoken to Ibrahimovic about a return but insisted the final decision on the squad would be his.

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic gestures during their Euro 2016 group G qualification match against Liechtenstein in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, October 9, 2015.

The Swede, who also played for Ajax, Barcelona, Juventus and Inter Milan, scored 62 goals in 116 games for his country, and appeared at World Cups in 2002 and 2006.

National manager Lars Richt has made it clear that Ibrahimovic is not applicable to the World Cup squad Janne Andersson will present on May 15th.

Sweden's current team may have a role in that. "And at the moment I have other things to do than to think about what would be if..."

But in a statement published on the Swedish men's football team's official Instagram page yesterday, national selectors said: "A final message: Zlatan will not play at the World Cup".

"It doesn't change anything for me", he said last month.

Despite not confirming in what capacity he would appear in, many assumed that the now LA Galaxy striker would be making a return to the Swedish national side for one last hurrah in Russian Federation, but this has now been ruled out.