Sweden’s all-time leading scorer has played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Juventus, Barcelona, PSG and Milan.
AC Milan’s Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he has decided to retire from playing at the age of 41 after a title-laden career at some of Europe’s top clubs.
Ibrahimovic’s Milan contract expires at the end of June and won’t be renewed after a season rife with injuries has brought him to the end of a remarkable career.
The Swede arrived at Milan for a second time in early 2020, after winning the Scudetto with them in 2011 and helping the club win the title back last season.
“I say goodbye to football but not to you,” he said after being received by the San Siro crowd following Milan’s 3-1 win over Hellas Verona in their season finale on Sunday. Japan.
“The first time you came, I gave you happiness, the second time you gave me love. I want to thank my family and those close to me for their patience.”
The great striker started his career at Malmo FF in 1999 and left Ajax Amsterdam in 2001 before embarking on a journey that included spells at Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris St Germain, Manchester United and Milan.
The Swede has won countless leagues and national cups along with a long list of individual trophies but has never touched Europe’s club trophy, the Champions League.
Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 matches, left the national team after Euro 2016 but returned in 2021 following his unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign Surname.
“I thank the journalists for your patience, now you will have less work to do without me… From tomorrow, I am free from this world of football,” Ibrahimovic told reporters in a press conference after the retirement announcement.
“It’s been a long, really long career, thank you to everyone who gave me the strength, adrenaline and emotion to keep going.”
Ibrahimovic has deflected questions regarding his retirement plans, choosing not to reveal any details.
“For now, I just want to take some time and enjoy what I’ve done. Hasty decisions are not right, there are too many emotions right now. I want to take a vacation, reflect and then we’ll see.”
When asked about who could replace him, Ibrahimovic’s answer was clear.
“No way, only one Zlatan! When I was young, they compared me to [former Netherlands 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 the comparison is right. I doubt we’ll find another Zlatan to our ego,” he added.
He ended the press conference by admitting the evening was an emotional experience.
“I can’t dream of a night like this. From day one, I felt at home with Milan, the old and new version. When I leave here, I will miss it very much. Today, they pulled a real Ibrahimovic out.”