Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the stars are aligned for Lionel Messi to finally capture that elusive World Cup trophy, the AC Milan striker told reporters in Dubai on Monday.
The 35-year-old Messi is likely to make his last World Cup appearance and with Brazil, Portugal, Germany and Spain all eliminated in Qatar, the Argentines look poised to clinch football’s most prestigious title for the first time since 1986.
Ibrahimovic, who continues to rehabilitate his knee as he joins his AC Milan teammates for a winter training camp in Dubai, praised the other three semi-finalists in Doha but said he only sees one team walking away with the trophy.
“I think it is already written who will win, and you know who I mean.
I think Messi will lift the trophy, it’s already written,” said Ibrahimovic, who represented Sweden at two World Cups in 2002 and 2006.
decider of Russia 2018, with the Atlas Lions taking on the reigning champions on Wednesday.
Ibrahimovic described France and Croatia as “strong nations” but believes Messi’s triumph is inevitable.
Asked about Morocco, who became the first African or Arab team to reach the final 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. .
Then, obviously, in the World Cup, anything can happen.
“That they reached the semifinal, maybe a little surprised, but remember that it is a good team, a good nation.
And I think people like these surprises; they enjoy it because they want these things to happen to get some kind of extra adrenaline rush.
” – ‘Emotional’ –The Moroccans clinched their ticket to a historic semi-final by defeating Spain and Portugal back-to-back.
Scenes of a tearful Cristiano Ronaldo heading to the dressing room after Portugal’s elimination have been played on television screens around the world, marking a rocky end to the 37-year-old’s quest for World Cup glory.
Pressed to send a message to Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic said: “I think it’s not important what I can say.
I mean, everyone wants to win the World Cup; Not everyone gets to win the World Cup. “Everyone is trying and if you don’t win it you’ll obviously get excited, if you win it you’ll also get excited in a different way.
Ibrahimovic added that the true story behind Ronaldo’s unceremonious departure from Manchester United will never be revealed, making it difficult for him to weigh in on the matter.
“His departure of him 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 needs to say to protect himself, then you have the manager saying these things to protect himself,” said Ibrahimovic, who spent two seasons at Manchester United from 2016 to 2018.
“Then the club says things, not like me, I’ll tell you how it really happened.
But we are all different.
Everyone takes care of their image.
“For me the perfect image is to be yourself.
We will not know the true story, my friend.