Zlatan Ibrahimovic retirement confirmed: The 41-year-old has decided to hang up his boots upon the expiry of his contract with Milan, and received a hero’s sendoff in Milan’s final game of the season at San Siro.
The Rossoneri faithful held up a ‘GodBye’ tifo to honour the veteran forward, who has given us one of the most prolific careers of the past decade. Ibrahimovic was in talks with Monza over a potential transfer, but it seems like that is not the case, as he says goodbye to professional football.
This past season has been difficult for the icon, having been sidelined almost for the entirety of it due to a knee injury. Last year, he played regularly and scored eight goals in 27 appearances. This time around though, he has been restricted to four appearances only and scoring a solitary goal.
In spite of not playing regularly, Zlatan’s contribution in the locker room was almost more important than anything. His ability to get the squad fired up by being a well-spoken leader for his teammates was vital in their Scudetto winning season last time around. This time, they were able to make it to the semifinals of the Champions League and have achieved another top four finish.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic retirement: Why is the striker retiring now?
At the end of 21/22, the veteran revealed that he had played the majority of the season with a knee injury. And that he had to take medication to deal with the pain, while playing through it. Following their victorious Serie A campaign, he decided to undergo surgery, but it has taken almost the entire season for him to recover.
And now that it looks unlikely that he will be able to hit the same levels as he did before, he has decided to call it a day.
The longevity that the Swede showed has been simply remarkable, with most players hanging up their boots in their early and mid thirties. On the other hand, Ibrahimovic left for the MLS after spending time with PSG, only to return back to Europe’s top five leagues with Milan and send them firing back to the Champions League, and also helping them win the Serie A title in 21/22.
What next for Zlatan and AC Milan?
For the time being, it is unclear as to what role the 41-year-old will take up next. Many footballers go into management after they call it a day on their playing careers. And with the leadership qualities that he possesses, he could surely give it a try.
However, ventures outside of football might also be on the table for him.
Milan, now, will be looking into signing a new striker for the summer. One of the options is Gianluca Scamacca of West Ham United, and formerly Sassuolo. On the other hand, Rasmus Hojlund has also been linked with a transfer, and the situation will develop further once the transfer window is open for business.
They will be lacking a major leader in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and it remains to be seen whether he will stay in a non-sporting role or leave the club entirely.