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When will Zlatan Ibrahimovic retire & how much longer can he play?

9:44 AM EDT 4/22/22
Zlatan Ibrahimovic AC Milan Serie A 2021-22
The evergreen striker continues to deliver the goods for AC Milan when free of injury, but when will a curtain come down on his distinguished career?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic burst onto the senior stage at Malmo as a teen in 1999 and, 22 years into a new millennium, the enigmatic Swede is still going strong at 40 years of age.

Trophies have been collected by a modern day great on a regular basis over the course of a stunning career that has seen him spend time with the likes of Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and AC Milan.

There will come a day when he has to head into retirement, but when will his boots by hung up and for how much longer could he continue playing at the top level? GOAL takes a look…

When will Zlatan Ibrahimovic retire?

The self-proclaimed ‘God’ of football has never shied away from the fact that he intends to prolong his career for as long as possible.

With a competitive fire burning as bright as ever within an evergreen frontman, there is no need for him to consider walking away from a profession that has made him a living legend.

Ibrahimovic has collected league titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France, while also claiming domestic cup honours in many of his various landing spots – including in England when at Old Trafford.

He has registered over 500 goals at club level, with time also spent in the United States with the LA Galaxy, while the target has been found on a record-setting 62 occasions while earning 121 caps for his country.

As he has been showing no sign of slowing down, netting 36 times for Milan since rejoining them in December 2019, no fixed date has been set for his retirement.

Niggling injuries have started to become more frequent, with knee problems holding him back in 2021-22, and Rossoneri boss Stefano Pioli has said of Ibrahimovic’s future plans as he works on rolling 12-month contracts at San Siro: "Everyone can have physical problems, he is dealing with a knee issue now. We hope he can return before the end of the season.

"As for his future, I don’t think something has changed. I am sure he will make the best choice, and we’ll back him regardless of what he decides."

Unsurprisingly, Ibrahimovic has responded to suggestions that he may be considering retirement in typically bold fashion, with the Swede posting a video on social media that shows he has lost none of his touch.

He said: "I decide when to stop, just like I decide that the yellow ball will hit you."

How much longer can Zlatan Ibrahimovic play for?

Having made over 850 appearances on the domestic stage and well over 100 in the international arena, Ibrahimovic could be forgiven for allowing his attention to drift towards what may come next for him.

He is, however, someone who has perfected the art of keeping focus locked on the present, and he is not about to change his ways.

The veteran forward has admitted that the thought of having to stop playing football does scare him.

He has said: "I do feel a slight sense of panic at the prospect of retirement.

"I will certainly keep playing for as long as possible, as long as I can get results and am not suffering. I want to end my career without regrets, so I have to maximise my time.

"I know the adrenaline I feel at the moment will never be the same. We are programmed to wake up, go to training, return home and rest.

"This goes on for 20-25 years, but one day I will wake up and have nothing planned, and that will be a strange feeling."

As a proven winner that always demands the highest standards from himself and those him, Ibrahimovic has also been eager to point out that he is reluctant to call it a day before he has helped his current employers to snap a six-year barren run on the trophy front and an 11-year wait for Serie A title glory.

He has said: "I won’t quit until I have won something with this Milan side."

Ibrahimovic has also stated that "the reality is I’ll play until I see that someone is better than me, so I’m still playing."

He has gone on to say: "Normally, at 40, you're at home, you light up a cigar and you're satisfied with the career you've had. I’m not ready to smoke a cigar yet."

The world has been warned, Ibrahimovic is going nowhere any time soon and will only walk away on his own terms when there is nothing left for him to achieve.

How many trophies has Zlatan Ibrahimovic won?

As mentioned, Ibrahimovic has collected trophies and medals just about everywhere he has been - including many individual ones such as Golden Boots and Player of the Year prizes - with his mere presence helping to raise collective standards within any squad he graces.

In total he has lifted 33 pieces of silverware, although the two Serie A titles he claimed while with Juventus were later revoked after the Calciopoli scandal.

Club

Competition

Year/s won

Ajax

Eredivisive

2001-02, 2003-04

KNVB Cup

2001-02

Johan Cruyff Shield

2002

Juventus

Serie A (revoked)

2004-05, 2005-06

Inter

Serie A

2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09

Supercoppa Italiana

2006, 2008

Barcelona

La Liga

2009-10

Supercopa de Espana

2009, 2010

UEFA Super Cup

2009

FIFA Club World Cup

2009

AC Milan

Serie A

2010-11

Supercoppa Italiana

2011

Paris Saint-Germain

Ligue 1

2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16

Coupe de France

2014-15, 2015-16

Couple de la Ligue

2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16

Trophee des Champions

2013, 2014, 2015

Manchester United

Community Shield

2016

League Cup

2016-17

Europa League

2016-17