AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires at 41

The Swedish striker started his club career at Malmo FF in 1999

By Web Desk
June 05, 2023
Zlatan Ibrahimovic bid farewell to his football career - Reuters

Sweden-born AC Milan's prolific striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced retirement from the game he loved the most. 

Ibrahimovic, after AC Milan beat Hellas Verona 3-1 in their season finale, held his last press conference as a professional player. 

"I say goodbye to football but not to you," he bid farewell to the game emotionally. 

"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 striker added. 

It must be noted here that Ibrahimovic's contract with Milan will expire at the end of this month. The contract will not be renewed following Ibrahimovic's season full of injuries. 

The Swedish striker started his club career at Malmo FF in 1999 and left for Ajax Amsterdam in 2001 before embarking on a journey that has included spells at Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris St Germain, Manchester United and Milan.

He has won countless domestic leagues and cups plus a long list of individual honours but never got his hands on Europe's elite club competition trophy the Champions League.

Sweden's all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 matches quit the national team after Euro 2016 but returned in 2021 for their unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.

During the press conference, Ibrahimovic was asked about his future plans. 

"For the moment, I just want to take some time and enjoy what I’ve done. It’s not right to make decisions in a hurry, there’s too much emotion right now. I want to take the summer off, reflect and then we’ll see," he replied. 

In reply to a question, Ibrahimovic said no one could replace him. 

"Impossible, there is only one Zlatan! As a child, 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 might be similarities, but I don’t think comparisons are right. I doubt we’d find another Zlatan with my ego..." he concluded. 

- Additional input from Reuters