Ibrahimovic hangs boots

Zlatan Ibrahimovic said on Sunday he had decided to end his football career, aged 41.

The striker’s contract ex­pires at the end of June and he had already announced he would not be renewing it following an injury-plagued season.

But the Swedish legend announced on Sunday that “the time has come to say goodbye to football”.

A clearly emotional Ibrahimovic was serenaded by the Milan fans who held up a large Tifo spelling out ‘Godbye’ and was then given a guard of honour by his team-mates as he left the pitch.

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Speaking on the pitch at full-time, Ibrahimovic said: “I have so many memories and lived so many emo­tions in here, the first time I arrived here you gave me happiness. The second time love.

“I want to thank my family, everyone close to me for their patience. I want to thank my second family, the players. I want to thank AC Milan head coach, Stefano Pioli and his staff for the responsibility you have given me. I want to thank the man­agers for the opportunity.

“But most important of all: from my heart I want to thank you fans. You wel­comed me with open arms, you made me feel at home. I will be a Milan fan for life. The time has come to say goodbye to football, but not to you.”

Ibrahimovic arrived in Mi­lan for his second spell with the club in early 2020, having won the Scudetto with them in 2011, and helped them win the title again last season.

Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 121 matches, quit the national team after Euro 2016, but returned in 2021 for their unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign. — Sky Sports

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