Zlatan Ibrahimovic Retires
At the age of 41, Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his immediate retirement from football.
When he made the news following AC Milan‘s final Serie A match of the 2022–23 season, the football legend cut a sorrowful figure. Zlatan Ibrahimovic exits the game as one of the all-time greats after a brilliant 24-year career that saw him win 34 titles.
Before joining the Dutch team Ajax in 2001 at the age of 19, he started with Malmo in his native Sweden. In his first year in Amsterdam, Ibrahimovic won the Eredivisie title. His mesmerizing slaloming goal against NAC Breda in August 2004 is still often shared on social media.
His standout performances for Ajax and with Sweden at Euro 2004 led to a move to Juventus, where he led Serie A in goals scored in his debut season. But after the club was implicated in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, he resigned a year later.
After helping them win the La Liga, he was then rewarded with a high-profile transfer to Barcelona in 2009. However, Ibrahimovic’s time in Catalonia was cut short due to a highly publicized falling out with Pep Guardiola.
Ibrahimovic then went back to Milan, although he joined Inter’s rivals AC Milan instead, where he helped them win the 2010–11 Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana.
He then embarked on an adventure in America by joining MLS team LA Galaxy. Despite the lack of a trophy to show for his efforts, he made an immediate effect on the league with his first goal for the team, an incredible strike into the goal from 35 yards out.
He remained in Milan for the final four years of his career, helping them win the Scudetto title again in the 2021–2022 season—their first in eleven years. The only glaring ‘failure’ of his incredible career was that he didn’t receive a Champions League winners’ medal.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Achievements
Ibrahimovic played for Sweden on 122 occasions and scored 62 goals.
Additionally, he has a long list of accolades to his name, including the Puskas Award for a spectacular overhead kick against England.
Ibrahimovic also earned spots in the Milan and PSG Halls of Fame as well as three Serie A Footballer of the Year awards, three Ligue 1 Player of the Year awards, and three Ligue 1 Player of the Year honors.
In addition to all the talent on the field, Ibrahimovic was perhaps the game’s most charismatic player.
He was a great maverick of the game from the start of his career, reputedly rejecting a move to Arsenal because he thought going on trial for a contract was beneath him and saying the famous phrase,
“Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.”
Even Ibrahimovic’s original word was included in the Swedish vocabulary. In 2012, the verb Zlatanera, which means “to dominate,” was added.
Ibrahimovic responded to the Hellas Verona supporters who jeered him as he announced his retirement in typical Ibrahimovic fashion:
“Keep booing. This is the biggest moment in your year seeing me.”
All hail a great soccer king!
All hail Zlatan Ibrahimovic!!!