Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his retirement from football, at the age of 41.
The Swedish superstar’s contract expires at the end of June and it will not be renewed following a season plagued by injuries, prompting him to end a remarkable and successful career.
Ibrahimovic arrived in Milan for his second spell with the club in early 2020, having won the Scudetto with them in 2011, and helped them win the title again last season.
“I say goodbye to football but not to you,” he said after being feted by the San Siro crowd after Milan’s 3-1 win over Hellas Verona in their season finale.
“So many memories and emotions inside this stadium,” Ibrahimovic added as he fought back the tears.
“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. I want to thank my second family. The players, the coach and his staff for the responsibility they gave me. I want to thank the directors for the opportunity they gave me.
“Last but not least, from my heart, I want to thank you, fans. You welcomed me with open arms and I will be a Milanista my entire life. It’s time to say goodbye to football, but not to you. It’s too difficult, there are too many emotions. I’ll see you around if you are lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye.”
The striker started his professional career at Malmo in 1999 and left for Ajax in 2001 before embarking on a career which featured spells with leading European teams such as Juventus, Barcelona, Manchester United, Internazionale and Milan. He scored 511 career goals and won league titles in four countries.
Ibrahimovic, 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.
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