A litany of the world's best players have flocked to Brazil this month as the 2014 World Cup kicks off. Except for Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Sweden missed the cut, and he will have to watch from afar.
And as it turns out, he's been watching Major League Soccer from afar, too.
“I will really think about it because I find it very interesting to come over to America, because my friend Thierry Henry is playing there and he’s doing fantastic there,” Ibrahimovic told SI.com last week. “And he talks a lot of positive about the Major League Soccer, so it’s an interesting thing if the opportunity is still there in two to three years.”
Ibrahimovic's Sweden fell at the final hurdle on the road to Brazil, losing to Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the European qualifying playoffs by a 4-2 aggregate score. His in-depth SI.com interview was one of a few pieces as Ibrahimovic made the media rounds promoting the US release of his book, I Am Zlatan, last week.
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He also spoke with TheNew York Times Magazine, where he admitted “I'm suffering, I'm disappointed, I'm angry” about missing out on the world's biggest showcase.
“But if I ever get a chance to play in front of the Americans, I would try to do my best to convince them, show them the type of soccer they like to see,” he said, on the topic of how his no-holds-barred playing style might be received on these shores.
Ibrahimovic briefly played alongside Henry at Spain's FC Barcelona several years ago, and while he has previously expressed a desire to finish his career at his current club, French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, he gave the impression that when his contract is up in two years, he could be enticed to give MLS a shot.
The powerful striker also discussed his infamous training-ground fight with American defender Oguchi Onyewu – “The guy is a monster. He’s as big as me and he’s really strong” – and revealed some fascinating insights into his development as a professional and his blue-collar upbringing on the rough streets of Malmö, Sweden.