Departing Zlatan proud of journey from ‘ghetto’

Sweden's forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic acknowledges the crowd after Sweden lost 0-1 in the Euro 2016 group E football match between Sweden and Belgium at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 22, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO

Sweden’s forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic acknowledges the crowd after Sweden lost 0-1 in the Euro 2016 group E football match between Sweden and Belgium at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on June 22, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO

Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he was filled with pride as he bowed out of international football on Wednesday, saying he had emerged from “the ghetto” to become Sweden’s record goal scorer.

The 1-0 defeat to Belgium at Euro 2016 was not the way the brash striker would have wanted to depart the international stage, but he said he would take “fantastic memories” with him.

“It’s heavy, it’s disappointing, but at the same time I enjoyed it,” Ibrahimovic said after the final Group E match in Nice.

“We got the possibility to play at the Euros, and represent Sweden.

“This was my last game in the national team. I have many fantastic memories from the national team, because it’s a nice story because where I came from, a little… what people call the ghetto, and I made that country my country.”

Ibrahimovic, 34, was born to a Bosnian father and a Croatian mother in the tough Malmo neighbourhood of Rosengard and had a difficult childhood.

He scored 62 goals in 116 international matches, but failed to get a shot on target as a poor Swedish side were the only team not to qualify from their group.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic


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