Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from football aged 41

AC Milan legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his retirement at the age of 41.

Ibrahimovic has spent most of the season through injury, but made the trip to the San Siro to watch AC Milan’s final Serie A game on Sunday, May 4.

However, after the game, the huge Swede took to the field to address the crowd.

The 41-year-old’s contract with AC Milan expires at the end of June and he has announced he will not be renewing his contract after an injury-laden season.

Speaking on the pitch full-time, Ibrahimovic said:

“I have a lot of memories and live a lot of emotions here, the first time I came here you made me happy. Second time love.

“I want to thank my family, who are close to me, for their patience. I want to thank my second family, the players. I would like to thank (AC Milan head coach Stefano) Pioli and his staff for the responsibility you have given me. I want to thank the managers for the opportunity.

“But most importantly: from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the fans. You welcome me with open arms, you make me feel at home. I will be a Milan fan for life. It’s time to say goodbye to football, but not to you. I have so many emotions running through me. See you soon, if you’re lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye.”

Ibrahimovic arrived in Milan for a second time with the club in early 2020, winning the Scudetto with them in 2011 and helping them win it back last season.

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The striker began his professional career at Malmo FF in 1999 and left Ajax Amsterdam in 2001 before starting his career with top European teams including Manchester United, Inter Milan and Milan.

Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 games, left the national team after Euro 2016 but returned in 2021 after a failed World Cup qualifying campaign.

He helped the Dutch giants win the Eredivisie in his first campaign in Amsterdam before leaving Juventus after four years. After Juve were relegated following a match-fixing scandal, the Swede joined Inter Milan, where he won three consecutive Serie A titles.

He then had a brief spell at Barcelona before returning to Italy on loan at AC Milan. That move was made permanent in 2011 and he scored 35 goals in 44 appearances the following season.

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