Zlatan Ibrahimovic announces retirement from football at 41
Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his retirement from football on Sunday after AC Milan’s final match of the Serie A season.
“It’s the moment to say goodbye to football, not just to you,” said Ibrahimovic on the San Siro pitch following Milan’s 3-1 win over Verona.
Ibrahimovic has spent the majority of the season injured but made a trip to the San Siro to watch AC Milan’s final Serie A game on Sunday, May 4.
However, after the game, the big Swede made his way onto the pitch to address the crowd.
The 41-year-old’s AC Milan contract expires at the end of June and he had already announced he would not be renewing it following an injury-plagued season.
Speaking on the pitch at full-time, Ibrahimovic 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. I have too many emotions that are passing through me. See you around, if you’re lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye”.
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.
The striker started his professional career at Malmo FF in 1999 and left for Ajax Amsterdam in 2001 before embarking on a career that has included leading European teams including Manchester United, Inter Milan, and Milan.
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.
He helped the Dutch giants to win the Eredivisie in his first campaign in Amsterdam before leaving for Juventus after four years. After Juve were relegated following a match-fixing scandal, the Swede joined Inter Milan, where he won three successive Serie A titles.
He then had a short-lived spell at Barcelona before returning to Italy on loan at AC Milan. That move was made permanent in 2011 and he duly fired in 35 goals in 44 appearances in the following campaign.