Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes it is “already written” that Lionel Messi will finally win his first World Cup in the fifth edition.
Argentina face Croatia in the last four on Tuesday and Messi will be looking to reach the second final of his career in the competition. The last time he came close to lifting that elusive trophy was when Germany beat Argentina 1-0 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It is highly likely that the 35-year-old will make his final appearance in the World Cup finals. With Brazil, Portugal, Germany and Spain all knocked out in Qatar, the Argentines look set to claim football’s most prestigious title for the first time since 1986.
Ibrahimovic, who is continuing to rehabilitate his knee while joining his AC Milan teammates for a winter internship in Dubai, praised the other three semi-finalists in Doha but insisted he was only seen by one team to walk away from the trophy.
“I think it’s already written who will win, and you know who I’m talking about. I think Messi will lift the trophy, it’s already written,” said Ibrahimovic, who represented Sweden in two World Cups in 2002 and 2006. .
Argentina and surprise semi-finalist Morocco will try to prevent France and Croatia from staging a rematch of the Russia 2018 title final, with the Atlas Lions facing the defending champions on Wednesday.
Ibrahimovic has described France and Croatia as “strong countries” but believes Messi’s success is inevitable.
Asked about Morocco becoming the first African or Arab side to reach the last four at a World Cup, Ibrahimovic said: “I don’t think it’s a surprise because I knew they were good before the World Cup. But obviously, in World Cup, anything can happen.
“Maybe I was a bit surprised that they got to the semi-finals, but don’t forget that this is a good team, a good country. And these surprises, I think people love them; they are happy with them because they want they have those things happen, so they have a little extra adrenaline. »
The Moroccans punched their ticket to a historic semi-final by beating Spain and Portugal back-to-back.
Footage of a tearful Cristiano Ronaldo entering the dressing room after Portugal’s exit was replayed on television screens around the world, marking a difficult end for the 37-year-old in his quest for World Cup glory.
Asked if he would send a message to Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic replied: “I think what I can say is that it doesn’t matter. I mean everyone wants to win the World Cup, but not everyone can win the World Cup.
“Everybody works hard and if you don’t win you obviously get emotional, when you win you get emotional in a different way. »
Ibrahimovic added that the real story behind Ronaldo’s accidental departure from Manchester United will never be revealed, making it difficult for him to speak on the matter.
“His departure from United, I think when things happen we will never know the real story. They say what they want to say, he says what he has to say to protect himself, then is that you have a coach who says these things to protect himself,” said Ibrahimovic, who spent two seasons at Manchester United from 2016 to 2018.
“Then the club say things – not like me, I’ll tell you how it actually happened. But we are all different. Everyone pays attention to their image.
“For me, the perfect image is to be yourself. The real story we will never know, my friend. »
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