Zlatan Ibrahimovic says World Cup worth nothing without him

Ronaldo says hat-trick was motivated by team and not personal duel with Swede

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes off the armband after defeat to Portugal on Tuesday night.  Photograph: Erik Martensson/EPA

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes off the armband after defeat to Portugal on Tuesday night. Photograph: Erik Martensson/EPA

Wed, Nov 20, 2013, 12:39

Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has claimed the World Cup will not be worth watching without him after his side lost to Portugal in Tuesday night’s qualifying play-off.

Ibrahimovic scored twice but his performance was topped by a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo in the much anticipated battle between the star forwards, sending Portugal through with a 3-2 win on the night, 4-2 on aggregate.

At 32, it seems Ibrahimovic’s last chance to play on the world stage has now passed.

“It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me,” he said on his app, Zlatan Unplugged. “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.

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

Ronaldo, who had given Portugal a 1-0 lead in the first leg, scored first in Stockholm to increase Portugal’s advantage before two quick Ibrahimovic goals briefly levelled the tie.

The Real Madrid star then answered back in style with two further strikes to send Portugal through.

After the match, Ronaldo insisted he had not taken any motivation from the much-hyped clash with Ibrahimovic, focusing only on his own desire to reach the World Cup finals in Brazil.

“I do not compete against Zlatan, he is a fantastic player and biggest star in Sweden, but I do not compete against him,” Ronaldo said. “I play for my team.

“Now the team is to be congratulated. What we wanted was to qualify. Now have to sit back and enjoy it. We can go back to our clubs with a clear conscience, make a great season and then look forward to the World Cup.”

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.