United Briefing: Personal sacrifices for Sweden

Thursday 25 March 2021 08:00

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof and former Old Trafford hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic have both spoken emotionally about leaving their respective families behind to play for Sweden.

The two players are set to proudly represent their homeland across this ongoing international break in World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo, as well as in a friendly with Estonia.  

Playing for your country is of course a dream for every footballer and personal sacrifices are made to make that happen, but that does not mean it is easy – particularly with young children at home. 

Reds defender Lindelof is missing his son’s second birthday to take part in these fixtures and, via his official Instagram account, the 26-year-old wrote this touching tribute: “Two years of being a father to this little man. I will always walk side by side with you through life. Happy birthday son.”

Victor’s United team-mate and fellow father Bruno Fernandes is top of the comments section with a post that reads “Happy birthday little ice man”, and such a sentiment is understood by Ibrahimovic. 
Proud father Victor missed his son's second birthday to represent Sweden.
Zlatan may look like an intimidating giant of a man, but his softer side was highlighted to the world this week when breaking down at a press conference to discuss his return to international football.

Ibra revealed that he choked up when he asked his two sons Maximilian and Vincent about his decision to play for Sweden once again, admitting they cried when he left. 
“To play in the national team is the biggest thing you can do as a football player,” he said. “And as I was following them [Sweden], inside me I was feeling I think I can help them, I think I can do something.

“I've got the opportunity now to play for my country and I do it with honour, but it's not only about that -- it sounds like I'm only happy to be here. But I'm here to get results, to bring results for the coach and my teammates and the whole country.”

The Swedes will kick off their World Cup qualifiers as they host Georgia at the Friends Arena at 19:45 GMT, with Lindelof and former United man Ibrahimovic hoping to start. 

There are three other international matches taking place with Reds hopefully involved, perhaps most notably in England hosting San Marino at Wembley Stadium. Dean Henderson, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard might be involved, although it seems likely that Marcus Rashford will miss out after he didn’t train with the squad at St George’s Park on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, David De Gea's Spain are preparing to face Greece and Scott McTominay's Scotland are readying themselves for Austria. All four fixtures will start at 19:45 GMT and you can follow live updates in our international blog.
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The club’s Season Ticket plans were announced for 2021/22, which include a price freeze, a range of support measures to provide financial flexibility and a renewal timetable.

It was confirmed that Nicky Butt is to step down as head of first-team development at United after nine years in coaching and player development roles at the heart of our renowned Academy.
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Our live blog covered the first night of international action for Donny van de Beek (Netherlands), Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial (France), Daniel James, Dylan Levitt (Wales) and Bruno Fernandes (Portugal).   

We also wished Peter Davenport a happy 60th birthday, published a study into our goals scored by substitutes this season and rounded up the latest headlines via Media Watch.

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