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Ibrahimovic: ‘A world cup without me is not worth watching’ as Sweden succumb to Ronaldo’s heroics

Nov 20, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

Sweden Portugal WCup Soccer Getty Images

At the final whistle of Sweden’s 3-2 World Cup playoff defeat at home to Portugal on Tuesday night, Swedish captain and global superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic cut a forlorn figure as Portgual’s players celebrated qualification to the 2014 World Cup.

Zlatan, 32, knows his last chance to shine on the world stage had just been snatched away from him. And, perhaps sadly, the world may never get another chance to see Ibrahimovic light up the globe’s biggest tournament again.

This summers World Cup won’t be the same without him. In true Ibra fashion, he even said it himself.

“It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me,” Ibrahimovic said. “One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worthwhile to wait for the World Cup.”

(MORE: Ronaldo topples Zlatan – Real Madrid star’s hat trick sends Portugal past Sweden, into 2014 World Cup)

You have to love his honesty, even if some find his outlandish arrogance annoying. The guy is a stud and scored two great goals to give the Swedes a faint hope of overturning Portugal’s 2-0 lead in the second leg. But Ibra’s stunning salvo in four second half minutes proved fruitless as his arch-nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat trick and took the top prize and all four of Portugal’s goals in the clash dubbed as Zlatan vs. Ronaldo.

Ibra was gracious, yet disheartened, in defeat.

“Congratulations to Portugal but both teams deserved to get to the World Cup,” Ibrahimovic continued. “The disappointment of course is great now that the World Cup in Brazil will remain a dream for the Swedish national team.”

(MORE: 31 down; one to go – Updated list of countries qualified for FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil)

The second leg of this European World Cup playoff lived up to the billing of a supreme battle between two of world soccer’s greatest players. Ronaldo scored four times, Zlatan twice and Portugal won 4-2 on aggregate. On reflection the Portuguese deserved to make the dance and their squad is a lot stronger than Sweden’s. I have no hesitation in predicting that Portugal will at least make the quarterfinals at Brazil 2014 and that Ronaldo will take the tournament by storm.

As for Ibrahimovic… he’s said he won’t even be watching it. I’ll leave you with his thoughts on a Ibrahimovic-less World Cup one more time.

“One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch.”

  1. footballer4ever - Nov 20, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Sour grapes Ibrahimovic…and we all thought Ronaldo was the most conceited one!

    • Circe - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Isn’t he? I wish someone would take such incredible care with my eyebrows and hair ;-) In this case the pretty boy won, maybe not the mano a mano, but Portugal heads to the World Cup.

  2. njsurfchick - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    LOL. Such a tool.

  3. tridecagon - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Yeah, he’s a douche…. but he’s right that the World Cup would be more interesting with him in it. There are so many teams from Europe with the potential to beat any team in the world on any given day. Instead, we get teams like Iran or Honduras, who just don’t have the class to run with guys like Spain or Germany.

    • gra42 - Nov 23, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      The last time Honduras had a noteworthy team, they were beating teams from CONMEBOL left and right. It’s worth saying that two reporters back in the days of Pavon and Nunez started working on a story about collusion in CONCACAF, and those two reporters turned up on some oil platform as victims of homicide. I couldn’t make this up if I had to. Ok, well I guess reporters in Mexico have been on thin ice for more than a decade now, so I guess I could imagine it.

  4. tridecagon - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Yeah, he’s a jerk… but he’s right that the World Cup would be more interesting with him in it, and that both Portugal and Sweden would be deserving participants. Sucks that they got drawn against each other. Too many excellent teams in Europe for the number of slots the qualifying process affords them.

    • nogoodusernames - Nov 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      well, I wouldn’t say “he’s right”. Had he said that the tournament will be less interesting, sure, that would be correct, but he said the tournament would be “nothing” without him. I for one, am very happy that he won’t be there, all players have egos, especially the great ones, but implying that the tournament’s worthiness relies on him in any way shape or form is beyond ridiculous. Good riddance.

      • gra42 - Nov 23, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        Yeah, considering how much he brought to the last one: Nothing.

  5. Circe - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Reblogged this on Circespeaks and commented:
    I, for one, will miss seeing Ibrahimovic and Sweden in the World Cup!

  6. footballer4ever - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    @ tridecagon

    He’s right? That’s only his opinion. In the end, “Pretty Boy” beat him mano a mano score a hat trick vs only a deuce by Ibrahimovic. Someone fell short for sure and one can only imagine his head or nose would have grown if Sweden had qualified. This elimination should do wonders to humble this big shot conceited wannabe footballer.

    • mgdsquiggy17 - Nov 23, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      wannabe footballer? you must be kidding. He surely is conceited but the guy is a legit superstar.

      • footballer4ever - Nov 29, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        He maybe legit footballer, but he should get off his high horse and stop being a diva. Footballers speak louder on the pitch than when they start being louder when they open their mouths. In that part, Ronaldo has learned and changed his ways in being a conceited and grandiose jerk.

        Mr. Ibrahimovic is just an empty footballer looking for any attention that he lost in Barcelona who gave the attention he needed.

      • mgdsquiggy17 - Dec 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Yea he is a diva. His actions on the pitch DO speak louder then the non-sense he talks. The guy backs it up on the pitch all the time. His team just lost to a better team and a better player. Just because you are a jerk doesn’t mean you aren’t a great player. The guy is still one of the handful of elite players in the WORLD. Ronaldo changing his ways has nothing to do with his football prowess.

  7. malvaren18 - Nov 20, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Actually the world cup should be even more exciting now that this guy is not in it, as long as CR7 is playing and Messi

    • mgdsquiggy17 - Nov 23, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      do you watch anything besides La Liga?

      • smhindeed - Feb 4, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        americans literally only knowing two soccer players in the whole world.

  8. lunasceiling - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Don’t worry, Zlatan. I’m sure the World Cup will still have plenty of self-absorbed d-bags participating, even without you.

  9. tarotsujimoto74 - Nov 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    I’m sure he’ll still be going for the next one. It’s not as if Sweden has anyone that would push him out.

    • youpeoplearemorons - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      he’ll be 36 by the time 2018 rolls around. sweden has numerous players who could knock him out of the lineup by that point. he’ll be getting older and 4 years is loads of time for young talent to develop.

  10. mikeevergreen - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Lets get a tissue for the Zlatan!

  11. racistredskins - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    If this was the case he should have carried Sweden through, like CR7 did.

    • youpeoplearemorons - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      not sure if we watched the same game, but he did carry sweden. CR7 just had a better supporting cast

  12. gra42 - Nov 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Funny, I don’t remember him or Ronaldo doing to much the last time they went. But then I don’t watch either of them, and the W.C. is still the best sports event going.

    At any rate, the last time I watched Ibra play, he was with Barca in his first few games. All I remember is him collecting a ball about ten yards outside and to the right of the box, looking up, seeing another forward streaking down the center unmarked, so Ibra just looks at, him looks down, looks at him again, then down again so he can dribble three defenders while the rest of the team screams at him and pulls out their hair. To me, that’s who Zlatan is. And of course he as kept getting skinned throughout the rest of the game.

  13. mikeevergreen - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    This guy is a walkin’, talkin’ mucus membrane.

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