The Swede retires from football after 988 games and 573 goals distributed between all the clubs he has been for and his national team
“The time has come to say goodbye to football, not to you. You welcomed me with open arms, I will be a Milan fan for the rest of my life,” he said from the center of the San Siro pitch
Milan awarded Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will leave football. The Swedish striker is leaving after a season in which he only wore shorts four times due to a knee injury, but his role at Milan in this second phase It has always been beyond football.
This time Ibra failed to maintain character and collapsed. A sea of tears flooded his eyes as he took the microphone to greet his family, the last heartfelt words to his fans and teammates, who for the occasion dressed in a shirt bearing his name and they served as a corridor to the San Siro to greet him, with praise.
“The time has come to say goodbye to football, not you. You welcomed me with open arms, I’ll be a Milan fan for life,” he said from the center of the San Siro pitch, greeting his fans and teammates.
“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 or the players and the coach with his technical staff. Thanks also to the managers for the opportunity they gave me. My heartfelt thanks also to the fans who welcomed me with open arms.. I will be a Milan fan for life.”
The Swede retires from football after 988 games and 573 goals spread across all the clubs he has played for and his national team.
Ibra, who will turn 42 in October, is leaving Milan as a true legend and after a season away from the spotlight, but in which his role as a transcendental figure in the locker room was impeccable. Always respected, both by the players and by the coaching staff, he led the historic last season, 2021-22, to the ‘scudetto’ champion at the top after 13 years without winning the title.
“His role has always been that of a great motivator and a great player, I hope he can continue to be that,” said his coach, Italy’s Stefano Pioli, in what was his first call-up of the season on 10 February . .
And it is that before that match against Turin, in which he didn’t even play, Ibra was recovering from the operation he underwent on his knee at the end of last season.
The Swedish striker played the last match of the 2021-22 season against Sassuolo on 22 May 2022, which crowned Milan champions of the ‘scudetto’ 13 years after their last victory.
Three days after that match, Ibra underwent surgery on his left knee, which kept him out of action for eight months.
He didn’t make his debut this season until 26 February against Atalanta. It only took him four league games in a row and one with Sweden to realize that he still hadn’t recovered 100 per cent, so he still stopped until the end of the season.
A campaign in which, despite the complexity of the challenge, he achieved a new record. He signed him having played just four games and 126 minutes in the Rossoneri shirt, which is said soon. On 18 March, aged 41 years and 166 days, Ibra scored from a penalty, at his second attempt and against Udinese, thus becoming the oldest player to score in Serie A after beating Alessandro Costacurta.
While the record certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth, it hasn’t stopped being a very difficult season for the international, who had to watch from the bench as his team reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and lost them against Inter , the greatest rival, in what would have been a precious reunion with a hobby that one day encouraged him.
In his farewell to San Siro he recalled his two stages. The first started 13 years ago, way back in 2010, when he played for two years before moving to PSG. The second, with which he hangs his shoes, from 2020 to 2023, in which a completely full stadium, with about 70,000 fans, fired one of his legends.
The Swede leaves behind figures of 93 goals and 35 assists, adding to his 116 games in two stages and 988 games in which he scored 573 goals distributed between all the clubs he has been for and his national team, but a much greater legacy that it also includes two Scudetti and an Italian Super Cup.