AC Milan and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has decided to call time on his professional career with immediate effect. The Swedish football star made the announcement on Sunday after AC Milan's resounding 3-1 victory over Hellas Verona in their season finale. He also revealed that not even his family knew about this massive announcement.
The 41-year-old's Milan contract expires in June end and will not be renewed after a season marred by injuries, forcing him to end a highly successful career. Ibrahimovic has scored 93 goals in 163 games for Milan in two spells and returned in January 2020 to help them win the Serie A title last year. The prolific striker has amassed 561 goals for country and club combined.
In a press conference, the 41-year-old stated, as quoted by ESPN.in:
"Even my family didn't know, because I wanted that when I announced it everyone heard it at the same time."
"I say goodbye to football, but not to you," he said after the San Siro crowd feted the Swedish star.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic thanks his family on retirement:
In an emotional speech, Ibrahimovic thanked his family and the entire Milan family for supporting him throughout. He didn't forget to thank his fans and vowed to see them around in the near future.
"I have so many memories and emotions inside this stadium. The first time I arrived you gave me happiness, the second time you gave me love. I want to thank my family. I want to thank my second family: the players. I want to thank the coach and his staff for the responsibility, I want to thank the directors for the opportunity. Last but not least, from my heart, I want to thank you fans. It's too difficult, there are so many emotions going through me now. But I will say, 'I'll see you around, if you're lucky."
The 41-year-old is also Sweden's all-time top goal-scorer with 62 goals in 121 appearances.