AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from football

Adeyemi Adeyemi

Global Courant

The Swedish all-time top goalscorer has played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Juventus, Barcelona, ​​PSG and Milan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish striker for AC Milan, says he has decided to retire from football at the age of 41 after a career full of trophies with some of Europe’s best clubs.

Ibrahimovic’s contract with Milan expires at the end of June and will not be extended after a season plagued by injuries that saw him end a remarkable career.

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The Swede arrived for a second spell at Milan in early 2020, having won the Scudetto with them in 2011, and helped the club win another title last season.

“I say goodbye to football, but not to you,” he said after being cheered by the San Siro crowd after Milan’s 3-1 win over Hellas Verona in their season finale on Sunday.

“The first time I arrived you gave me happiness, the second time you gave me love. I want to thank my family and those close to me for their patience.”

The larger-than-life striker began his career at Malmo FF in 1999 and left for Ajax Amsterdam in 2001 before embarking on a journey with the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, ​​Paris St Germain, Manchester United and Milan.

The Swede has won numerous national leagues and cups, plus a long list of individual honours, but he has never laid hands on Europe’s elite club competition trophy, the Champions League.

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Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 games, Ibrahimovic left the national team after Euro 2016, but returned in 2021 for their failed World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I thank the journalists for your patience, now you have less work to do without me… From tomorrow I will be a free man from this world of football,” Ibrahimovic said at a press conference after announcing his retirement.

“It’s been a long career, very long, thank you to everyone who gave me the strength, the adrenaline and the emotion to keep going.”

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Ibrahimovic arrived in Milan in early 2020 for his second spell at the club (Marco Luzzani/Getty)

Ibrahimovic dismissed questions about his retirement plans and chose not to disclose any details.

“Right now I just want to take some time and enjoy what I’ve been doing. It is not good to rush into decisions, there is too much emotion at the moment. I want to take the summer off, think and then we’ll see.”

When asked who could replace him, Ibrahimovic’s answer was clear.

“Impossible, there is only one Zlatan! As a child they compared me to (former Dutch striker) Marco van Basten, but he is who he is and I am who I am,” he said.

“There may be similarities, but I don’t think comparisons are accurate. I doubt we would find another Zlatan with my ego,” he added.

He concluded the press conference by admitting that the evening had been an emotional experience.

“I could not have dreamed of a night like this. From the first day I felt at home with Milan, the old and the new version. When I leave here I will miss it dearly. Today they dragged out the real Ibrahimovic.”

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from football

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