Veteran Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his retirement to AC Milan fans on Sunday.
Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his retirement from a glittering football career at the age of 41, leaving Italy’s Serie A as the league’s oldest goalscorer.
The star striker made the announcement following his side AC Milan’s 3-1 victory over Hellas Verona on Sunday.
“It’s time to say goodbye to football, but not to you,” an emotional Ibrahimovic told Rossoneri supporters at the San Siro stadium.
The club previously announced that they would hold a brief ceremony to bid farewell to the enigmatic star as his contract would not be renewed at the end of this month.
“The first time I came you gave me happiness, the second time you gave me love,” Ibrahimovic said. “You welcomed me with open arms, you made me feel at home and I will be a Milanista all my life.”
Ibrahimovic played for nine clubs during his 24-year career, scoring 561 goals for club and country, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.
He retires as Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 international appearances. He retired from international football after Euro 2016 but returned for Sweden’s failed 2021 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Ibrahimovic told a press conference on Sunday that he would rest for a while before deciding what to do next.
“Right now I just want to take some time off and enjoy what I’ve done,” he said. “It’s not good to make decisions in a hurry, there is too much emotion at the moment. I want to take the summer, think about it and then we’ll see.
The Swede made his professional debut in his home country with Malmö FF in 1999 before moving to the Netherlands to play for Ajax two years later. Ibrahimovic won the Eredivisie twice and the KNVB Cup in 2002.
After his move to the Dutch club, Ibrahimovic went on to play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.
During his first spell in Italy, the Swede won two Serie A titles with Juventus which would later be vacated due to the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal. A move to Inter Milan in 2016 saw Ibrahimovic win three league titles.
Ibrahimovic left Italy to join Spanish giants Barcelona in 2009, where he won the La Liga title in his only season with the Catalan club. His spell in Spain was short-lived as he was loaned to AC Milan in 2010, in a move made permanent in 2011.
In 2012, Ibrahimovic joined Paris Saint-Germain where he scored 113 goals while winning 12 trophies – including the domestic quadruple twice. Despite never winning the elusive Champions League title, the striker helped English Premier League side Manchester United to a Europa League victory in 2017.
After joining MLS side LA Galaxy in 2018, where he scored two stunning goals on his debut, the charismatic striker returned for a second stint with AC Milan at the start of 2020, helping the Italian side win the Scudetto last season.
Despite only making four appearances last season due to injuries, Ibrahimovic became the oldest goalscorer in Serie A history at 41 years and 166 days in the 3-1 defeat at AC Milan against Udinese in March.