Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Star wells up on Sweden return
Zlatan Ibrahimovic struggled to hold back his tears after announcing his decision to retire from football at the age of 41 following AC Milan’s final game of the season on Sunday. The iconic Swede, who played for two seasons in the Premier League with Manchester United, is finally set to hang up his boots after a remarkable career that spanned across three decades and saw him collect domestic titles with five different clubs.
Ibrahimovic had already played his final game for the club as he was injured and it had been reported he was set to leave at the end of his contract.
But after the striker was seen bursting into tears before the game, it soon became apparent it was the end of a glittering 24-year career.
The veteran striker was not involved in the game as Milan beat Verona 3-1 at the San Siro. However, he was given a hero’s farewell by the Milan faithful, club directors and his team-mates after the final whistle. And in a rare show of vulnerability, Ibrahimovic looked emotional as he gave his farewell speech to the San Siro crowd.
“So many memories and emotions inside this stadium,” the 41-year-old said. “The first time I arrived you gave me happiness, the second time, you gave me love.
“I want to thank my family and those close to me for their patience. I want to thank my second family. The players, the coach and his staff for the responsibility they gave me. I want to thank the directors for the opportunity they gave me.
“Last but not least, from my heart, I want to thank you, fans. You welcomed me with open arms and I will be a Milanista my entire life. It’s time to say goodbye to football, but not to you. It’s too difficult, there are too many emotions.
“I’ll see you around if you are lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye.”
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