Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his decision to retire: ‘I woke up when it was pouring, and I remarked, ‘Even God tears.’
AC Milan and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said on Sunday he had decided to end his football career.
The 41-year-old’s contract with Milan expires at the end of June. He will not be extended after an injury-plagued season, causing him to call it quits on a spectacular and successful career.
Later, at conference, Ibrahimovic said that no one was aware of the huge surprise he was going to deliver.
“Even my family didn’t know because I wanted everyone to hear it all at once when I announced it,” he explained.
Ibrahimovic scored 93 goals in 163 games for Milan across two stints. He rejoined the club in January 2020 and helped Milan win the Serie A title last season, his second league triumph with the Rossoneri.
The prolific striker, who scored 561 goals for club and country in his career, cried on the sidelines as Milan fans unfurled a large banner at one end that said “Godbye” and sang his name. Ibrahimovic blew kisses to the supporters while cupping his hands in the shape of a heart.
After the game, there was also a special ceremony honoring him, with the Milan players and staff forming a guard of honor as he came out onto the field.
“I say goodbye to football, but not to you,” he remarked after being feted by the San Siro fans following Milan’s 3-1 season-ending triumph against Hellas Verona.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: THE LEGEND
The striker began his professional career with Malmo FF in 1999 and departed for Ajax Amsterdam in 2001 before going on to play for famous European clubs like as Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, and Milan.
Ibrahimovic had suffered with injuries this season, making only four appearances for Milan after undergoing knee surgery last year.
“I have so many emotions and memories inside this stadium,” he added. “The first time I arrived, you brought me joy; the second time, you brought me love.”
“I’d want to thank my family. I’d want to express my gratitude to my second family: the players. I want to thank the coach and his crew for the chance and the directors for the responsibility. Last but not least, I want to thank you fans from the bottom of my heart.”
With 62 goals in 121 appearances, Ibrahimovic is Sweden’s all-time leading scorer. He left the national team after Euro 2016, but returned in 2021 for their disappointing World Cup qualification campaign. He has the most goals in his career with PSG, scoring 156 times in 180 appearances. On the other hand, he scored 53 goals in 55 appearances with the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer.
Ibrahimovic finished his remarks with a smile and his trademark flamboyance.
“It’s too difficult, there are so many emotions going through me right now,” he remarked. ‘I’ll see you around, if you’re lucky,’ I’ll say.