Thursday, May 30, 2024

Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from football aged 41

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com

The Swedish great confirmed his retirement following AC Milan’s final game of the Serie A season on Sunday, 4 June. The legendary striker made the announcement on the San Siro pitch following his club’s final game of the Serie A season.

“The time has arrived to say goodbye,” the Sweden international told the crowd. Zlatan made his debut for Malmo in 1999.

Ibrahimovic endured an injury-ravaged final campaign of his glittering, trophy-laden career, restricted to just four appearances across all competitions for the Rossoneri, who opted not to extend his contract.

Milan fans and team-mates bid goodbye to one of their most popular players in a ceremony at the San Siro on Sunday, after their final Serie A match of the campaign against Hellas Verona, which they won 3-1.

An impressive large tifo display that read simply ‘Godbye’ was unfurled by supporters in the stands, while Ibrahimovic fought back the tears as he received a standing ovation and was presented with a special signed shirt.

Ibrahimovic initially returned to Milan aged 38 in 2019 after a stint in Major League Soccer (MLS) with the LA Galaxy, helping the club to win their first Serie A title for 11 years last term.

However, he underwent major knee surgery last summer that kept him out until February, later suffering a calf problem that ultimately ended his campaign after just four outings and one solitary goal, scored in the 3-1 loss at Udinese in March – his final club game.

He netted a total of 93 times in 163 appearances across three spells at Milan, winning two Serie A titles 11 years apart.

Ibrahimovic began his career in his native Sweden with Malmo, later winning a glut of silverware with Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain before heading to the Premier League for the first and only time with Manchester United in 2016.

He remained at Old Trafford for two seasons, winning the Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield under Jose Mourinho, before agreeing an early mutual termination of his contract in March 2018 after 29 goals in 53 games having been reduced to a bit-part role following a serious knee injury that ended his first year at United early.

Ibrahimovic scored a total of 493 goals in 819 club appearances in a career spanning 24 years, plus another 62 in 122 senior caps for Sweden, having quit international football in 2016 but later returned in a failed bid to lead his country to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. His final match proved to be the 3-0 Euro 2024 qualifying loss to Belgium in Stockholm in March, in which he appeared as a late substitute.

Ibrahimovic also won a number of individual honours in the game, including the FIFA Puskás Award in 2013. He was nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or honour no fewer than 11 times, finishing fourth in the voting in 2013.

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