Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his retirement from football on Sunday at the age of 41 after AC Milan’s final match of the Serie A season.
The Swede arrived in Milan for a second spell in early 2020, having won the Scudetto with them in 2011, and helped the club win the title again last season.
“It’s the moment to say goodbye to football, not just to you,” said Ibrahimovic on the San Siro pitch following Milan’s 3-1 win over Verona.
The Swede has won countless domestic leagues and cups plus a long list of individual honours but never got his hands on Europe’s elite club competition trophy, the Champions League.
Ibrahimovic, who is Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 matches, quit the national team after Euro 2016 but returned in 2021 for their unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.
“I thank the journalists for your patience, now you’ll have less work to do without me… From tomorrow, I am a free man from this world of football,” Ibrahimovic told reporters in a press conference after the announcement he was retiring.
“It was a long career, really long, thank you to everyone who gave me the strength, the adrenaline and the emotion to continue.”
Ibrahimovic deflected questions regarding his plans for retirement, opting not to divulge any details.
“For the moment, I just want to take some time and enjoy what I’ve done. It’s not right to make decisions in a hurry, there’s too much emotion right now. I want to take the summer off, reflect and then we’ll see.”
When asked about who could replace him, Ibrahimovic’s answer was clear.
“There might be similarities, but I don’t think comparisons are right. I doubt we’d find another Zlatan with my ego,” he added.
He concluded the press conference by admitting the evening had been an emotional experience.
“I could not have dreamed of a night like this. From the first day, I felt at home with Milan, the old and the new version. When I leave here, I will miss it a great deal. Today, they dragged the real Ibrahimovic out.”