Zlatan Ibrahimovic Retires From Professional Football At Age 41
Swedish football legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his retirement from football at the age of 41. His contract with AC Milan ends in June, but he has decided not to renew it due to an injury-ridden season.
During his final match, the striker was given a guard of honour by his teammates and was serenaded by Milan fans who held up a large Tifo with the message “Godbye”.
Ibrahimovic expressed his gratitude to his family, teammates, coaches, and managers, but reserved his most heartfelt thanks for the fans. He said:
I have so many memories and lived so many emotions in here, the first time I arrived here you gave me happiness. The second time love.
I want to thank my family, everyone close to me, for their patience. I want to thank my second family, the players. I want to thank (AC Milan head coach Stefano) Pioli and his staff for the responsibility you have given me. I want to thank the managers for the opportunity.
But most important of all: from my heart I want to thank you fans. You welcomed me with open arms, you made me feel at home. I will be a Milan fan for life. The time has come to say goodbye to football, but not to you.
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I have too many emotions that are passing through me. See you around, if you’re lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye
Ibrahimovic started his professional career at Malmo FF in 1999 and played for several top European teams, including Manchester United, Inter Milan, and Milan. He helped Milan win the Scudetto in 2011 and again last season.
Despite retiring from the Swedish national team after Euro 2016, he returned for their 2021 World Cup qualifying campaign. He is Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 matches.
Earlier in his final match, Ibrahimovic’s teammate Rafael Leao celebrated his second goal by dedicating it to the retiring striker. AC Milan won the match against Hellas Verona 3-1.