Carson, CA. – LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic told talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel almost two weeks ago, “A World Cup without me wouldn’t be a World Cup.”
The Swedish football association made that official Thursday by announcing Ibrahimovic would not be coming out of international retirement to play for the Swedish national team, which recently defeated Italy in a playoff and will take part in the World Cup scheduled for June 14 to July 15 in Russia. Ibrahimovic bade farewell to international competition after Euro 2016; he also represented Sweden in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
Swedish FA sporting director Lars Richt was quoted Thursday as saying, “I talked to Zlatan on Tuesday. He announced he did not change his mind about the national team.
“It is no.”
Not so fast, Ibrahimovic told reporters after training Thursday. Perhaps he won’t be playing, but he plans on being there anyway.
“The World Cup? Yes, I am going,” he said with a smile. “That is what I’ve been saying all the time. What did I say to Kimmel? I was going to the World Cup.
“I’m going. I have a plane and I’m flying.”
Ibrahimovic said he will not do any television work.
“I don’t do those things,” he said. “I feel when ex-players do those things they need attention. I don’t need that.”
He also would not say how many Galaxy games he potentially could miss.
“I cannot tell you that,” he said to laughter among media members. “It’s between me and the Galaxy. I’m not giving opponents this advantage if I play or not.
“This is tactical.”
Major League Soccer will observe a nine-day break during the Cup, and the Galaxy resumes play on June 30 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
ON THE INJURY FRONT
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid said midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, who strained his right calf during warmups prior to last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Atlanta, has been ruled out of Saturday’s match against New York Red Bulls.
“We’re hoping he would be back for the Houston game (May 5),” Schmid said.
Right back Rolf Feltscher injured his right shoulder during training Wednesday, and Schmid said no official diagnosis has been made yet.
“We’re still waiting for final confirmation as to what exactly will happen or can happen with his injury,” he said of Feltscher, who reportedly fell over a ball in practice.
However, CoG has learned that the club should be prepared to play without Feltscher for the foreseeable future.
According to a Galaxy source, the Venezuelan International tore a right pectoral muscle, which could put him out of service for at least the next couple of months.
Midfielder Ema Boateng, who missed the Atlanta game with a strained knee ligament, returned to full training and should be available to play on Saturday.
It has been a long road back for midfielder Bradford Jamieson, who has recovered from the latest in a long line of concussions – four official ones, by his count – but he’s finally close to feeling 100 percent.
“As healthy as a newborn,” he said with a grin Thursday.
Jamieson, who has cleared all concussion protocols and recently returned to full training, hasn’t appeared in a Galaxy game since going 55 minutes in a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas last Oct. 22 and admitted the inactivity has been difficult.
“You can understand the guys who do this for a living,” he said. “I wake up, I watch football, I read about football. I play football video games. When you take that away from someone, it’s definitely a personal thing.
“I don’t know if frustrated is the right word. I’m definitely more determined to come back the right way. You’re only 100 percent once you’ve fit all the pieces in the puzzle. I haven’t gotten any games under my belt, so I can’t say I’m definitely 100 percent until a real rhythm sets in.
“But I‘m as close as can be.”
Jamieson said he will be available this weekend should Schmid need him.
“It’s good to see that light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I’m just happy to be back on the pitch.”