AC Milan Star Zlatan Ibrahimovic Announces Retirement Following Serie A Season Finale.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the prominent striker for AC Milan, revealed his retirement decision on the San Siro pitch right after his club’s final game of the Serie A season last Sunday.
In a deeply moving moment, Ibrahimovic was showered with adoration from the Milan fans and bid farewell by his teammates, who formed a guard of honor as he made his exit.
“I have many memories and many emotions in here,” the Sweden international said.
“The first time I arrived here you gave me happiness. The second time, love. I will be a Milan fan for life.
“The time has come to say goodbye to football, but not to you. See you around, if you’re lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye.”
Throughout the season, the former Manchester United player had been plagued by injuries, spending a significant amount of time on the sidelines. His appearances for AC Milan were limited to just four matches, with his lone goal coming in a 3-1 defeat against Udinese in March.
The news of his departure from the club had already been anticipated.
Last July, despite the daunting prospect of an extensive rehabilitation period following knee surgery, Ibrahimovic renewed his contract for another year.
He had undergone a planned procedure on his left knee shortly after helping AC Milan secure the Serie A title. This operation aimed to address damage and instability resulting from a previous anterior cruciate ligament injury.
As expected, the recovery process required a lengthy lay-off, and it wasn’t until the end of February that Ibrahimovic made his first appearance of the season.
Starting his career at Malmo, Ibrahimovic turned down the advances of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and instead joined Ajax in 2001.
“Arsene Wenger asked me to have a trial with Arsenal when I was 17. I turned it down. Zlatan doesn’t do auditions,” was how Ibrahimovic put it in his own inimitable style.
From there, he embarked on an illustrious journey that would see him leave an indelible mark on the world of football.
The prolific striker also had spells with Juventus and Inter Milan before an unhappy spell at FC Barcelona, where he complained about how he was used by manager Pep Guardiola.
“When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari,” Ibrahimovic said.
“If you drive a Ferrari you put premium fuel in the tank, you drive on to the motorway and you floor the accelerator.“
Guardiola filled up with diesel and went for a spin in the countryside. If that’s what he wanted, he should have bought himself a Fiat from the start.”
The striker initially joined AC Milan on loan in 2010 before embarking on successful stints at Paris St-Germain (PSG), Manchester United, and LA Galaxy, ultimately returning to AC Milan.
During his time at PSG, Ibrahimovic showcased his exceptional scoring prowess by netting an impressive 113 goals in 122 league appearances.
He also had a fruitful spell with Manchester United, where he contributed to their Europa League and League Cup triumphs.
After leaving Europe to join LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic left an indelible mark on the Major League Soccer (MLS) with his remarkable performances.
Furthermore, Ibrahimovic holds the distinction of being Sweden’s all-time leading goal scorer, having found the back of the net 62 times in 122 matches. Following Euro 2016, he temporarily retired from international duty but made a triumphant return in 2021 for Sweden’s World Cup qualifying campaign, although the team fell short of their aspirations.
As Ibrahimovic bids farewell to the sport, football enthusiasts around the world reflect on the extraordinary journey of this iconic player who has left an indelible legacy in the annals of the game.