"He is an incredible ambassador for football and sport in Sweden. He does things on a football field that no one else does. He has an incredible understanding of the game," says the former head coach who captained Zlatan Ibrahimovic in blue and yellow between 2001 and 2004.

Tommy Söderberg is impressed with the player and man Zlatan.

"I've never met such a fit person. He had such an insight into what it took to take the steps he has made.

"He was a little timid"

Söderberg remembers the first matches in the national team with Ibrahimovic in 2001. A completely different player than the cocky superstar we have become accustomed to seeing over the past 20 years.

"He was like other new people when he came in. He was a little timid and restrained, and he listened in. And then he grew throughout the journey.

The transformation from the modest guy in the national team to the star with confidence, took a while.

"The big breakthrough was Euro 2004. He was so happy after that game (the 5-0 win against Bulgaria) and he grew.

"It's incredible"

What is Zlatan's best match during your time in the national team?

– The Italy game in 2004 and the 2-2 goal. He scores goals like that. No one else would think of trying to make that move. And Buffon (Italy's goalkeeper) is scared, you can see from Buffon that he doesn't really dare to go into the fight for the ball. And then Zlatan makes that heel movement the wrong way. It's unbelievable that the ball can go in between the bar and Vieri's head.

Söderberg now wants to see the federation give Ibrahimovic a really good tribute. Preferably in the form of a match where he himself plays with and against other old stars. And also where the son can be involved. In addition, Söderberg would like to see the 41-year-old in some role in the national team in the future.

"We had Swarre (Stefan Schwarz) in the U21 national team as a mentor. With the experience that Zlatan has, it would be good. I think you should generally invest a lot more in such roles," says Söderberg.

CLIP: Nannskog picks out his favourite goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic: "I was there myself"

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Daniel Nannskog picks out his favorite goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic: "I was there myself" Photo: SVT/Bildbyrån