Veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 41, has announced his immediate retirement from football at the San Siro, the home of Italian professional soccer club AC Milan.
Ibrahimovic’s contract expires at the end of the season. The club has already announced that there will be a special ceremony to say goodbye to Ibrahimovic after the final game of the season against Elas Verona.
According to the Associated Press, Ibrahimovic said at a press conference after the event that no one knew about the retirement announcement.
“Even my family didn’t know, because when I made the announcement, I wanted everyone to hear it at the same time,” he said.
Ibrahimovic was given a “guard of honor” by his teammates as he exited the San Siro after the match, a ceremony in which players line up on either side of him and applaud. “The time has come to say goodbye to football, but not to you guys,” he said tearfully as he grabbed the microphone.
Ibrahimovic wore the Milan jersey twice, scoring 93 goals in 163 games. He started his career with his hometown club Malmö and played for Ajax (Netherlands), Juventus, Inter Milan (Italy), and FC Barcelona (Spain) before joining AC Milan in 2011. In 2012, he moved again to Paris Saint-Germain (France), followed by spells at Manchester United (England) and LA Galaxy (USA) before returning to AC Milan in 2019. He scored 405 goals in 637 professional matches. He also scored 62 goals in 122 appearances for Sweden.
He won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan and two with AC Milan, as well as four league titles in France’s Ligue 1 and one in Spain’s Primera Liga.
In March, he became Serie A’s oldest goalscorer when he scored against Udinese at the age of 41 years and 166 days. However, he has made just four appearances this season after undergoing knee surgery last year. The previous day, it was announced that he had failed to extend his contract with AC Milan.
Ibrahimovic said: “There are many memories and emotions in this stadium. When I first arrived, you gave me happiness, and when I arrived for the second time, you gave me love,” he said.
“I want to thank my family, I want to thank the players, who are my second family, I want to thank the manager and the coaching staff for entrusting me with the responsibility, I want to thank the club management for giving me the opportunity, and last but not least, I want to thank the fans from the bottom of my heart.”
Many fans at the San Siro were in tears that day, as were his teammates who wore jerseys with his name and number on them.먹튀검증
Ibrahimovic lightened the mood with a witty joke.
“I woke up this morning and it was raining, so I thought, ‘God is crying too,'” he laughed.
Even before kickoff, an emotional scene was created when a large banner reading “Godbye” was unfurled at one end of the stadium. Fans chanted Ibrahimovic’s name, and he got teary-eyed as he clasped his hands together in a heart shape and blew kisses to supporters.