Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had one whirlwind career to date and despite his advancing age, it doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.
The AC Milan forward recently became the oldest goal scorer in Serie A history and will play for Sweden in Euro 2024 qualifying.
Ibrahimovic has not long overcome a serious knee injury that required three surgeries and is determined to hang up the boots on his own terms.
But when will the striker bow out and how much more football does he have left in him? The Sporting News takes a look.
MORE: When did AC Milan last win the Champions League?
How old is Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
Ibrahimovic is currently 41 years old and will turn 42 on October 3, 2023.
The Swede began his senior football career with Malmo in 1999 as an 18-year-old.
The forward had been turning heads well before that with Arsenal unsuccessfully trying to get Ibrahimovic to trial with the club.
“Arsene Wenger asked me to have a trial with Arsenal when I was 17. I turned it down. Zlatan doesn’t do auditions,” Ibrahimovic has said.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 21, 2023
When is Zlatan Ibrahimovic retiring?
Despite recent injury issues, Ibrahimovic is yet to provide any indication that he’s ready to retire.
The 41-year-old is contracted to AC Milan until July 2023 and seems intent to play on beyond that.
“When everyone says it’s enough, it doesn’t work. That’s when I get an adrenaline rush,” Ibrahimovic said in March 2023 while reporting for international duty with Sweden.
“I just want to keep going. After winning the Scudetto with Milan I could have quit, but it would have been too easy. Nor was it a conclusion that suited me.
“I want to go forward, I want to challenge myself. I don’t give up. Challenges give me adrenaline. Even you journalists, since I was young, have written and said about me that I was too different, messy, self-centred. Everything. You have helped me and you are still doing it. I always have this desire inside me to show those who doubt that they are wrong.”
As Ibrahimovic looks to help Sweden qualify for Euro 2024, he may be viewing the tournament as an ideal time to retire with the prolific goal scorer set to be 42 when the tournament begins.
Giving up is not an option…
IZ roaring 🦁
#MilanAtalanta #SempreMilan pic.twitter.com/GIcix5IO31
— AC Milan (@acmilan) February 26, 2023
Zlatan Ibrahimovic international retirement
Ibrahimovic has previously retired from international duty having hung up the Sweden shirt for a few years after Euro 2016.
Within a year, the forward declared a desire to return but he wouldn’t make his comeback until March 2021.
The striker would miss Euro 2020 through injury but had a cameo in Sweden’s World Cup playoff in 2022.
Ibrahimovic was called up to Sweden’s first squad of 2023 with coach Janne Andersson stressing he’ll be limited to a subsitute role.
Despite that fact, the forward believes he still has a place in the national team.
“Yesterday I told my national team teammates that they’re probably wondering what I’m still doing here,” Ibrahimovic said.
“They’ll think I’m stupid to still be here at 41 to play for the national team. But then I told them to wait until I’m near the end of their career and then they’ll understand why they’re still here.
“You don’t want to stop, you want to continue.”
🇸🇪 Zlatan Ibrahimović doing the impossible #OTD at EURO 2004… 🤯🤯🤯@Ibra_official | @svenskfotboll pic.twitter.com/my7p7XUnfe
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) June 18, 2022
Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals
Ibrahimovic has scored goals everywhere he’s gone, including in four of the big five European leagues.
He’s also Sweden’s all-time top scorer having replaced long-time record holder Sven Rydell in 2014.
Has Zlatan ever played in a World Cup, Euros?
Ibrahimovic is no stranger to the big stage and has played in both the World Cup and European Championships for Sweden.
The striker has featured in two World Cups, 2002 and 2006, but failed to score across five appearances.
He has fared much better at the Euros, playing in four tournaments and scoring six goals.
|World Cup 2002||2||0|
|World Cup 2006||3||0|