Swedish football legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the iconic AC Milan striker, announced this Sunday he is stepping off from his long and memorable career in football and retiring for good aged 41.
He spoke to his fans at the San Siro during an on-pitch ceremony following AC Milan's final match of the Serie A season, confirming his retirement to all, clearly emotional.
‘I have so many memories and lived so many emotions in here. The first time I arrived here, you gave me happiness. The second time love.' – he said and continued – ‘But most important of all: from my heart, I want to thank you, fans. You welcomed me with open arms. You made me feel at home. I will be a Milan fan for life. The time has come to say goodbye to football, but not to you. See you around if you're lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye.'
After his moving speech, Ibrahimovic was serenaded by the team's fans and given a guard of honor by his teammates. He left the pitch in a burst of tears, thanking everyone for all the support throughout the years and saying they would remain forever in his heart.
Ibrahimovic has spent the biggest part of the current football season on the sidelines due to a persistent knee injury, allowing him to participate in only four matches. Among these appearances, he scored only one goal in a 3-1 loss to Udinese in March.
Shortly after securing the Serie A title, Ibrahimovic underwent surgery on his left knee, which led to an extended period of recovery. This resulted in him appearing in the current season in February, long after it started.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic forever remains Sweden's all-time top scorer with 511 goals in 866 club games and 62 in 122 for his country. He represented Sweden in many FIFA World Cup tournaments and European Championships. The first time Ibrahimovic joined AC Milan was in 2010, when he scored 113 goals in 122 league appearances.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's retirement marks the end of an era in football, and his name will be etched in the annals of football history as a true legend. Zlatan will always be remembered for his outstanding contributions to the sport, leadership qualities, and heart made of gold.