Zlatan Ibrahimović: Retirement? “We’re not there yet,” says the AC Milan striker


He turned 41 earlier this month and will not play until next year due to a serious knee injury, but the last thing on Zlatan Ibrahimović’s mind right now is retirement.

“I have a lot of passion for my game,” the AC Milan forward told CNN’s Becky Anderson in an interview.

“Now I have a different situation with my age and the teammates I have, but I’m enjoying it every day, because I think when you stop playing football you will miss it so much that you don’t want to regret it. I had to keep playing,” added Ibrahimović, whose contract with Milan runs until June 30, 2023.

Now in his second season with the Serie A club – the Swede has made 74 appearances and scored 36 goals in all competitions for Milan – Ibrahimović helped the Rossoneri win their first Serie A title in 11 years last season.

“I’m trying to keep up with these young guys working hard and keeping pace,” added Ibrahimović, Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals.

If he is not considering retirement just yet, Ibrahimović admits that he will be “done” when he is not contributing to the team.

“I want to stay healthy and, when I’m at that level, I keep playing and see how far I can take it,” said the Swede.

“As long as I get results, I will still play. The day I slow down, I want the people around me to be honest and tell me they’re slowing down and then I’ll be realistic.”

Following Milan’s Scudetto success, the Swedish forward revealed on social media that he had played the last six months of the season without the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the strong band of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone, in his left knee. knee joint

“He took more than 20 injections in six months,” Ibrahimović said in a post on his verified Instagram account.

“Empty the knee once a week for six months. Painkillers every day for six months. I could barely sleep for six months because of the pain. He never suffered so much on and off the field.”

In 2016, Ibrahimović told CNN:

However, Ibrahimović played 23 of 28 league games last season and scored eight goals.

“I think in my case I have this drive, I want to improve every day,” Ibrahimović told Anderson. “I have the mentality that if I don’t work hard enough, I don’t feel good.

“And I think that takes you far, it takes you to a level where you challenge your body, because it’s all about challenging yourself. How far can you go? How far can you take your body?

It is not the first time in his career that Ibrahimović has been out for a long time due to injury, another serious knee problem while playing for Manchester United.

The injury was so serious that it threatened to end his career.

“That was my first big injury, so everything was new to me,” Ibrahimović said as he reflected on the injury he suffered in 2017, which kept him out of action for almost a year.

“So I didn’t really know what to expect, what I had before when I was in that situation.

“At first, I was a bit scared because I didn’t really know if I could come back or what would happen. But slowly, day by day I took it.

“It was more of a mental thing, where I had to stay calm, stay patient and, let’s say, do a boring workout.”

Ibrahimovic (C) and teammates celebrate winning the Serie A 2021/22 title.

Milan have won the Champions League or European Cup seven times, second only to Spanish giants Real Madrid, although the Rossoneri have not won the title since 2007, a rare barren European stage for the club.

Since then, teams such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have benefited from the injection of huge sums of money from the oil-rich Gulf nations, while the English Premier League has been flooded with foreign investment.

“Money brings opportunities,” Ibrahimović told Anderson. “The money brings alternatives that maybe others can’t bring and the hype in the Premier League is much bigger than Serie A and that’s why the economy is much bigger there.

“But it also makes it exciting because it becomes a challenge for Italian clubs to beat other clubs… we are still professional players and the ball is a round thing and we are doing the same thing.”