It seemed like he would play forever. After all, it is difficult to imagine football without its goals and statements. He always looked down on others a little, but he proved his right to be called great on the field.
And now he is gone: on June 4, after the Milan match with Verona, the 41-year-old Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his retirement.
This season, due to injury, he played only four matches for Milan and was more of a mentor than a footballer.
The 70,000-strong San Siro escorted Ibrahimovic out of football with a huge banner "Godbye!" (“Bye, God!”), and he could not hold back his tears.
“It’s hard for me to breathe, but everything is fine. I have so many memories associated with the San Siro. The first time I came to Milan you made me happy, the second time you honored me. I want to thank the club, the management and thank the fans from the bottom of my heart. You made me feel at home, I will remain a Milanist for the rest of my life,” he said, addressing the stands.
The football player has played in the top leagues of the world. In England he played for Manchester United, in Spain for Barcelona, in Italy for Juventus, Inter and Milan, in France for PSG. There is also a performance for the American Los Angeles Galaxy in his career. Throughout his career, he has won more than 30 club titles.
Zlatan started his journey in his native Malmö when he was six years old. And already from childhood he showed his special character - victories were not in the first place for him. He liked to beat opponents and leave them with nothing. Such a trip was not liked by the coaches and parents of other children. And he just got kicked out of the team.
Ibra carried this peculiarity and restlessness throughout his career. Often he spat on the team settings and put himself, his talent in the forefront, came into conflict with mentors. For example, at the dawn of his career, he refused Arsene Wenger himself, because he did not immediately offer the player a contract, but invited him to watch. “Zlatan doesn’t go to auditions,” the Swede justified his decision a few years later. Or he could yell at Pep Guardiola himself. Zlatan had a real war with him: Guardiola put Zlatan on the bench, and the Swede in the locker room with the team called the coach a coward. In the end, it all ended with the departure of Ibra from Catalonia.
But there were real authorities in the life of Ibrahimovic - for example, Jose Mourinho. The football player really showed his best game under the leadership of the Portuguese. Apparently, two bright and special personalities caught the same wave. Although their joint work was truly fiery - they criticized each other in the press, argued in the locker room, exchanged barbs. But they helped each other win a lot of trophies.
This guy says whatever he wants. I like him. He is the leader of the army. Mourinho lights up the room while Guardiola draws the curtains. Mourinho has become a guy for whom I am ready to die, ”Ibrahimovic said about the coach.
Ibra was no less significant figure in the national team. For the Swedes, the striker scored 62 goals in official and friendly games, and many of them were real masterpieces. For example, in 2012, he scored with a kick from thirty meters over himself against the England team, for which he received the Puskas prize for the best goal.
You can love Zlatan, you can hate him, but you definitely cannot be indifferent to him. He loved not only himself in football, as it might seem at first glance. He was dedicated to the game. Who knows, maybe someday a special Swede will turn out to be a coach no less bright than Jose Mourinho.