Zlatan Ibrahimovic played his last game for Sweden when they were knocked out of Euro 2016 on Wednesday and his coach said the country was unlikely to find another player like him.
Ibrahimovic, making his 116th appearance, ended his international career with a 1-0 defeat to Belgium in which he had a second-half goal disallowed.
The 34-year-old broke the mould of the Swedish game during his 15-year international career, blowing away the cobwebs after decades of collectivism with his individual brilliance — and cockiness.
“If I have to think about a new Zlatan, I hope we can find some other player who`s a really good player but I don`t think in a small country like Sweden you can find another player like him,” coach Erik Hamren told reporters. “He`s special, he`s unique.”
“I hoped he could have had a better finish than this. The same goes for (goalkeeper) Andreas Isaksson and (midfielder) Kim Kallstrom, who have performed well for a long time and are also ending their Sweden careers.”
Ibrahimovic, 34, played respectably in all three of Sweden`s matches without ever producing some of the outrageous skill of which he is capable.
He clearly suffered from a lack of service on Wednesday, often being forced to drop back into midfield to collect the ball, as he was against Italy in the previous game.
Even Belgium`s players were sad to see him go.
“Zlatan has done a lot of important things in his career and would have wanted to go further here,” said Eden Hazard.