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Ibrahimovic: World Cup is nothing without me

ESPN staff
November 20, 2013 « Hodgson bemoans lack of England quality | Chartbeat test »
Watch Ronaldo's stunning hat-trick

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the World Cup will be "nothing" in his absence as Sweden's hopes were dashed by Cristiano Ronaldo's four goals in two games as Portugal qualified for next year's World Cup.

The Swede scored twice for his nation in the second leg, but was overshadowed by Ronaldo's hat-trick, and after the game Ibrahimovic said to his app Zlatan unplugged: "It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me. One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worth while to wait for the World Cup."

"Congratulations to Portugal, but both teams deserved to get to the World Cup. The disappointment of course is great now that the World Cup in Brazil will remain a dream for the Swedish national team."

Meanwhile, Ronaldo insists he does "not have to prove anything to anyone" after matching Pauleta's scoring record in the process.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Portugal overcame Sweden 3-2 in the second leg of the World Cup play-off, sealing a 4-2 victory on aggregate.

The goals took his national team tally to 47, alongside Pauleta on Portugal's all-time list. However, the Real Madrid star says the achievements were all in a day's work.

"Records are there to be beaten. It was not a priority," Ronaldo told Publico.

"I knew that Portugal needed me. I do not have to prove anything to anyone. I try to do my work and give answers on the pitch.

"I did my job for my team. It is the team who have to be congratulated. We suffered for sure but that is how great teams win things. We retreated a little [when Sweden scored], but then we were better and we played better."

Ronaldo also played down the hype surrounding his battle with Ibrahimovic.

"I do not compete against Zlatan," he said to TV4. "He is a fantastic player and [the] biggest star in Sweden, but I do not compete against him. I play for my team."

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