Ibrahimovic ‘even more motivated’ after early exit
KIEV, June 17 — Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic said today he was “even more motivated” to continue playing for Sweden after defeats by Ukraine and England ended their hopes at Euro 2012.
“It means nothing in my mind to think negatively,” he told a news conference at Sweden’s training ground on the outskirts of Kiev ahead of their final Group D game with France on Tuesday.
“I think the opposite — we’ll keep going. I get angry inside and I get even more motivated. It’s not positive, what has happened here, but it has that effect on me,” he said.
The AC Milan striker echoed coach Erik Hamren’s comments that it was the “small margins” that saw Sweden exit the tournament despite leading in both of their games before losing 2-1 to Ukraine and 3-2 against England.
“If you look at both games, we’ve taken the lead in both. You can play for the result, you can be lucky or unlucky but I don’t believe in that. I think it’s the small details that make a difference,” Ibrahimovic said at Sweden’s Koncha Zaspa base.
“Of the teams that have gone out (of the tournament) I don’t think there’s many who have taken the lead and then lost. We are the only ones to date, even if there’s a lot of matches left.”
The 30-year-old added that even though Sweden would be heading home, they still had a lot to play for against France.
“We’ll go for it. We’re playing for honour, we are going to bring some points home with us,” he said, adding that some players in the squad were playing for their futures.
With the tournament all but over for the Swedes, talk in the camp has turned to the impending retirement of some of the older players such as Anders Svensson, 35, and Olof Mellberg, 34, but Ibrahimovic does not want them to hang up their boots just yet.
“I hope they don’t retire. It’s a big loss, they are not the kind of players you replace in 24 hours,” he said.
“They’re very good guys. They’re the guys I know best in the team, they’ve been here from the very beginning when I came in.”
Having once retired from the national team himself because of a lack of motivation, Ibrahimovic said he had no plans to do so again in the near future.
“It goes in periods — sometimes you’re satisfied, sometimes less satisfied and, like now, sometimes you’re not satisfied at all. You look for new goals all the time, to break records, personal records,” he told reporters.
“That’s what you look for, that’s what we want.” — Reuters