Legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has decided to hang up his boots and call time on his career as a professional footballer, the 41-year-old announced to the AC Milan fans at the end of their season.
Ibrahimovic made the announcement of his retirement after AC Milan concluded their Serie A campaign with a 3-1 win over Hellas Verona, choosing to end his career after his most recent contract with the Rossoneri reached its expiration.
Fabrizio Romano reported that Ibrahimovic had a contract proposal on the table from Serie A side AC Monza if he chose to continue with his career after the end of his contract with Milan. The Swede has decided to end his career, announcing amid tears to the San Siro faithful, who unveiled a tifo in his honour with the words ‘GODBYE’ before the match.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The most iconic striker of the 21st century
Ibrahimovic is easily one of the most recognisable figures in global sport with his gigantic physique and trademark ponytail. Since emerging as a budding star in Sweden the late 1990s, the striker has grown by leaps and bounds to become a global icon.
"The time has arrived to say goodbye".
We will miss you, forever and 𝐀𝐋𝐖𝐀𝐈𝐙❤️🖤
Good luck in retirement 👏 pic.twitter.com/vF0w3kCKU9
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) June 4, 2023
The 41-year-old played 988 official matches in his career and scored 573 goals, winning 32 trophies as a professional. The former Sweden international is largely credited with the return to success of Milan, having transformed their fortunes with his contribution on and off the pitch following his return in 2019 after a stint in the USA.
Ibrahimovic recognised his own limitations as he has been plagued by recurring injury problems that saw him feature only four times in 2022-23, scoring once. The ex-PSG and Manchester United star played most of the 2021-22 title-winning season carrying an ACL injury, as well.
Famous for his antics off the pitch as well as those on it, Ibrahimovic retires as one of the greatest footballers of his generation.