Zlatan Ibrahimovic has declared his retirement after an emotional farewell to AC Milan on Sunday. The storied Swedish striker, one of the game’s most lasting and charismatic players, is hanging up his cleats at the age of 41.
Ibrahimovic’s spectacular, trophy-laden career came to an end after a season marred by injuries. He was only able to make four appearances for the Rossoneri in all competitions, and they decided not to renew his contract.
Milan fans and teammates bid goodbye to one of their most popular players in a ceremony at the San Siro on Sunday. After their final Serie A match of the campaign against Hellas Verona, which they won 3-1.
An impressive large tifo display that read simply ‘Goodbye’ was unfurled by supporters in the stands. While Ibrahimovic fought back the tears as he received a standing ovation and was presented with a special signed shirt after announced retirement.
“The time has arrived to say goodbye,” he told fans at the San Siro.
Ibrahimovic initially returned to Milan aged 38 in 2019 after a stint in Major League Soccer (MLS) with the LA Galaxy. Helping the club to win their first Serie A title in 11 years last term.
Overcoming Injuries and Ending with a Solo Goal
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after undergoing major knee surgery last summer that sidelined him until February. Faced a calf problem that ultimately cut short his campaign. He managed just four appearances and scored one solitary goal in the 3-1 loss against Udinese in March, marking his final club game.
Across three stints at Milan, Ibrahimovic showcased his prolific scoring abilities, finding the back of the net 93 times in 163 appearances. His contributions helped secure two Serie A titles, with an impressive 11-year gap between the triumphs.
Beginning his football journey in his native Sweden with Malmo, Ibrahimovic went on to experience tremendous success with notable clubs like Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain. In 2016, he ventured to the Premier League, joining Manchester United for the first and only time.
During his two seasons at Manchester United, Ibrahimovic played a crucial role in the club’s victories, which included winning the Europa League, League Cup, and Community Shield under the management of Jose Mourinho. However, a serious knee injury curtailed his first year, and he mutually terminated his contract in March 2018 after scoring 29 goals in 53 games and being reduced to a peripheral role.
A Glittering Career’s Statistics and International Farewell
Ibrahimovic amassed an impressive total of 493 goals in 819 club appearances during his illustrious 24-year career. He also represented Sweden in 122 senior international matches, scoring 62 goals. While he retired from international football in 2016, Ibrahimovic made a comeback in an attempt to lead Sweden to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but the journey ended in disappointment. His final international appearance came as a late substitute in the 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifying loss to Belgium in Stockholm in March.
Throughout his career, Zlatan Ibrahimovic received numerous individual honours, including the FIFA Puskás Award in 2013 for the best goal of the year. He was also a frequent nominee for the prestigious Ballon d’Or, earning 11 nominations and finishing fourth in the voting in 2013.
In summary, the retirement of Ibrahimovic marks the end of a remarkable career filled with memorable moments, notable achievements, and individual accolades. His journey, characterized by overcoming injuries and delivering remarkable performances, has left an indelible mark on the world of football.