‘I say goodbye to football’: Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangs up his boots at 41
AC Milan and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a surprise announcement of his retirement from football on Sunday, hanging up his boots at the age of 41.
His contract expires at the end of this month and will not be renewed following a season plagued by injuries, prompting him to bring his remarkable and successful career to an end.
The Swedish superstar later revealed in a news conference that no one was aware of the big announcement he was about to make, not even his family, because he wanted everyone to hear the news at the same time.
Ibrahimovic had 561 goals for club and country over the course of his career. He scored 93 goals in 163 appearances over a couple of spells at Milan. He returned in 2020 and helped the club grab the Serie A title last year, his second league trophy with them.
“I say goodbye to football, but not to you,” the striker said after being applauded by spectators following Milan’s 3-1 victory in their season finale over Hellas Verona.
There was also a special ceremony following the match, with players and staff seen giving Ibrahimovic a guard of honour as he walked out onto the field.
The striker underwent a knee operation in 2022. He had been struggling with injuries and had made just four appearances for the club this season.
He began his professional career in 1999 at Malmo FF and left in 2001 for Ajax Amsterdam before setting off on an incredible and enviable journey that has included Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and other leading European teams.
Ibrahimovic is Sweden’s all-time top scorer, netting 62 times in 121 matches. He quit the national team following Euro 2016 but decided to make his return in 2021 for their unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.
You’ll be missed, Ibrahimovic.