International football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Monday appeared as a guest on popular American talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he confirmed that he was going to the World Cup.
“A World Cup without me wouldn’t be a World Cup,” the 36-year-old striker quipped. He however, refused to confirm whether the trip would be as a player for Sweden or in some other capacity.
“Will you have cleats on the bottom of your shoes or will they be regular shoes?” host asked the Swedish football superstar.
“I’ll just say I’m going to the World Cup. If I say more, people... they will hang me,” he added.
The LA Galaxy forward had played for Sweden at the World Cup in 2002 and in 2006 but had retired from international competition after Euro 2016. Sweden qualified for the World Cup, after defeating Italy in a two-legged play-off.
Ibrahimovic recently joined the Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy following a stint with English football giants Manchester United.
The Swede made an instant impact on his MLS debut, as he scored two goals, including a spectacular long-ranger after coming on as a substitute in the LA derby, to inspire his team to a 4-3 victory.
Kimmel started by asking Ibrahimovic about an advertisement that he had put out in the LA Times prior to his arrival. The full-page ad read, “Dear Los Angeles, Thank You, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”
Kimmel joked with the Swedish superstar, telling him that most players take an ad after they leave a club or a city, thanking them. The joke prompted a cheeky reply from Zlatan, “It has been a couple of years, I had my eyes on Los Angeles. I wanted to give them a gift. I was thinking of giving them a gift and then one day it came [to me], I should give myself. You’re welcome.”
The talk show host alluded to the fact that Zlatan has scored in almost all his first games for his new clubs. Ibrahimovic responded, “Yes, but not one like this. This was special.”
He was also asked if he was surprised by the reception that he had received in the United States, especially Los Angeles.
“In Europe, the football is huge, it’s big, so wherever I went ... people get crazy,” Ibrahimovic said. “People told me, ‘When you get to Los Angeles, don’t worry. You can walk on the streets out there.’ But since day one, no, it’s busy everywhere. It’s my own fault – if you play the way I do, I mean.”
The host also wondered if the Swede’s other team-mates were often overshadowed by his presence to which Zlatan jokingly replied, “No, don’t worry, I make them superstars just like I make you.”