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41-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from professional football

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the most illustrious figures of the modern era, has officially retired from football at the age of 41, concluding a remarkable career.

“I say goodbye to football but not to you,” expressed the Swede to the San Siro crowd following the last match of the season on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic had already disclosed his departure from the Italian club.

He scored 511 goals across various clubs, including Paris St-Germain, Manchester United, and both AC and Inter Milan, claiming league titles in four different countries.

In early 2020, Ibrahimovic embarked on his second stint with AC Milan, having previously clinched the Scudetto with them in 2011, and contributed to their title triumph last season.

However, injuries hindered his appearances for the Serie A side this season, limiting him to just four games and a solitary start, where he scored one goal. Consequently, his contract was slated to expire this month.

“There are too many emotions for me right now. Forza Milan and goodbye,” a visibly moved Ibrahimovic expressed, his emotions barely contained.

“The first time I came here, you brought me joy, and the second time, you showered me with love. You embraced me with open arms, making me feel at home. I will forever be a Milanista.”

Throughout his career, Ibrahimovic garnered an astonishing 34 trophies, including 14 league titles. Over the years, he received 11 nominations for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.

However, the Champions League title remained elusive for him, with his sole European triumph achieved with Manchester United in the 2017 Europa League.

The prolific striker also departs as Sweden’s all-time leading scorer, having netted 62 goals in 122 international matches.

After Euro 2016, he initially retired from the national team but made a comeback in 2021 for their unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I used to fear questions about my future from journalists, but now I embrace it; I am ready,” Ibrahimovic shared with reporters after his announcement.

“Football has been my life. It shaped me into the person I am today. It introduced me to people I would have never encountered otherwise. Thanks to football, I’ve traversed the globe. It’s all thanks to football.”

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