/ Go to the mediabankZlatan Ibrahimovic during a training session ahead of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage match against CSKA (Moscow, Russia) / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaZlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s most decorated and arguably greatest footballer of all time, has had a long career spanning several decades, yet decided to call it quits, despite jokingly pledging to play until he turns 50.Legendary Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has ultimately succumbed to age and injuries and announced that he is leaving football.The revelation of his retirement was made at an absolutely packed San Siro stadium in Milan with some 70,000 fans, where «Ibra,» as he is known to his numerous fans across the globe, delivered a heartfelt farewell speech.
"The time has come to say goodbye to football, not to you," one of the most prolific strikers of all time who is nearing 42 said somewhat cryptically, pledging to be a "Milanista" for the rest of his life," as tears filled his eyes. "The first time I was at Milan you gave me joy, the second time you gave me love. I thank my family for their patience, then the second family, the players, and the coach, and his staff," he added.
While bidding farewell to fans at San Siro, he recalled his two stints there. The first began in 2010, 13 years ago, where he played for two years before leaving for PSG. The second and his final one lasted from 2020 until 2023.The Swedish football veteran called it quits after 988 games and 573 goals for all his clubs, starting from Malmo FF and his national team. During his years abroad, he represented Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, Paris SG, Manchester United and LA Galaxy, before returning to Milan in 2019. In Milan alone, he scored 93 goals and 35 assists in 163 competitive matches.Zlatan Ibrahimovic Says He is ‘A Little Bit Panicking’ About Starting New Chapter of His Life3 May 2022, 12:28 GMTIn total, Zlatan has won 12 Ballon d’Ors and a whopping 31 international titles. In addition, he scored 62 goals playing for the Swedish national team, which is yet another all-time record.Ibrahimovic was renowned as a versatile and well-rounded attacker, capable of playing anywhere along the front line, due to his ability to both create and score goals for his team. He functioned both as a striker and a playmaker with an eye for the goal. He was also cherished for his pace, agility and stamina, which, in spite of waning with age, he remained formidable and remarkable for a man of his stature. During his career spanning over several decades, Ibrahimovic’s athleticism allowed him to score numerous acrobatic strikes and volleys. Oftentimes, he joked that he would play at the same pace until he turned 50, but time and injuries have taken their toll.Besides his sporting achievements, Ibrahimovic is also famous for his eccentric and self-aggrandizing persona and his habit of referring to himself in the third person. Beyond PoliticsReal Madrid Announces Departure of Ballon d’Or Winner Karim Benzema4 June, 15:31 GMTIbrahimovic was born in the city of Malmo, Sweden, to a Bosniak father and a Croat mother, and a statue was unveiled in his honor there, which was subsequently vandalized.