At age 41, Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his retirement from sport, telling supporters at AC Milan's San Siro, "goodbye to football, but not to you." The Swedish striker scored 511 goals in 866 club games and 62 goals in 122 for his nation.
On Sunday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced that, at age 41, he was retiring from professional football.
After an injury-plagued season, the striker's contract with AC Milan is up at the end of June, and he has already said that he would not be renewing it.
On Sunday, though, the Swedish icon said, "the time has come to say goodbye to football."
The Milan faithful, holding a giant Tifo with the word "Goodbye," serenaded an obviously moved Ibrahimovic as he exited the field, and his teammates formed a guard of honor for him.
At the game's conclusion, Ibrahimovic addressed the crowd: "I have so many memories and lived so many emotions in here, the first time I got here you brought me happiness. "Love at second sight."I appreciate the understanding and support of my loved ones. Players, you are my second family, so thank you. I appreciate the trust that you and (AC Milan head coach Stefano) Pioli have placed in me. I appreciate the chance that the executives have given me.
"But most of all, I want to thank you, the fans, from the bottom of my heart. You made me feel at ease and accepted me as I was. I will always root for Milan. It's time to end our football season, but not our friendship.There are too many feelings flooding my system at the moment. Hopefully, we'll cross paths again. To Milan, and farewell.
The striker began his professional career in 1999 with Malmo FF, then moved to Ajax Amsterdam the following year. Since then, he has played for several top European clubs, including Manchester United, Inter Milan, and Milan.
In early 2020, Ibrahimovic returned to Milan for a second stint with the club after previously helping them win the Scudetto in 2011 and again in 2018.
The Swedish national team's all-time leading scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left the squad after Euro 2016, only to return in 2021 for the disastrous World Cup qualification campaign.
In the first half, Rafael Leao scored twice for Milan, and the experienced striker joined him on the sidelines to celebrate. The final score was 3-1 in favor of AC Milan over Hellas Verona.
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Ibrahimovic's emotional goodbye in pictures