Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his retirement from football at the age of 41.
The Swedish superstar’s contract expires at the end of June and he will not be renewed following an injury-plagued season, prompting him to end a remarkable and successful career.
Ibrahimovic arrived in Milan for his second spell with the club at the start of 2020, having won the Scudetto with them in 2011, and helped them win the title again last season.
“I say goodbye to football but not to you,” he said after being cheered on by the San Siro crowd following Milan’s 3-1 win over Hellas Verona in their season finale.
“So many memories and emotions in this stadium,” Ibrahimovic added while fighting back tears.
“The first time I arrived you gave me happiness, the second time you gave me love. I want to thank my family and loved ones for their patience. I want to thank my second family. The players, the coach and his staff for the responsibility they entrusted to me. I would like to thank the directors for the opportunity they gave me.
“Lastly and most importantly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you, fans. You welcomed me with open arms and I will be a Milanese all my life. It’s time to say goodbye to football, but not to you. It’s too difficult, there are too many emotions. I’ll see you if you’re lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye.
The forward started his professional career at Malmö in 1999 and left for Ajax in 2001 before embarking on a career that included stints with top European sides such as Juventus, Barcelona, Manchester United, Internazionale and Milan. He scored 511 career goals and won league titles in four countries.
Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 appearances, left the national team after Euro 2016 but returned in 2021 for their unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.