On-loan Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick to give Belgium a win over Sweden in their Euro 2024 qualifier as their result shaded Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s historic return to Sweden’s national team.
Lukaku scored from a header in the first 45 minutes before scoring another in the 49th minute to put the Red Devils in a comfortable view of victory.
The former Manchester United forward then added a third late on in the game to complete a perfect day for him in an encounter where he afterwards claimed the match ball.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was brought onto the field in the 71st minute replacing Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak and the 41-year-old received a standing applause from the Swedish faithfuls at the Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden.
Ibrahimovic is not the oldest player to play in a European Championship qualifiers
Ibrahimovic was presumably thought to have been the oldest player to feature in a European Championship qualifiers at 41 years, five months and 21 days.
The Swedish forward was firstly showered with accolades as he was in line to smash the record of Italian goalie Dino Zoff since 1983.
But apparently, Gibraltar forward Lee Cascairo who is four days older than Ibrahimovic took the record in his country’s 3-0 loss to Greece in Group B on Friday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the Oldest player to score a goal in Serie A history when the AC Milan forward scored a penalty against Udinese last weekend.
The former Barcelona attacker stated that he wants to play at the European Championships in 2024 which would be held in Germany. He would have turned 42 years old by then.
If he features in the tournament next year with Sweden, he would become the oldest player to participate in the competition.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 511 goals in 866 games and he has donned the colours of many top sides in Europe.
He also had a stint in the MLS representing Los Angeles Galaxy from March 2018 till he left the side for Italy in January 2020.
Lukaku back on the score sheet as Belgium defeats Sweden
Romelu Lukaku returned to scoring ways for the Belgian Red Devils against Sweden and he last netted in 2021 at the UEFA Nations League in a 2-3 loss for Belgium against France in October 2022.
He has struggled to find the back of the net on a consistent and impressive basis since he made a controversial interview in 2021 about his time at Stamford Bridge under former manager of Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel.
During the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Romelu Lukaku alongside his teammates were dreadful and their performances condemned Belgium to a group stage exit at the mundial in Qatar.
Lukaku was left distraught by his lack of clinicality in front of goal and he visibly displayed his rage during the tournament.
Since he returned to Inter Milan last summer on loan, he has made 19 appearances scoring 5 goals for the Nerazzurri in the process.
Romelu Lukaku has netted 71 goals in 105 appearances for Belgium and he is the all-time top scorer for the nation.