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AC Milan star Ibrahimovic decided to retire in the summer, only to change his mind

00:50 GMT 05/12/2020
Ibrahimovic - Napoli Milan
The striker has been in stunning form this season as he's helped his team to a surprise early-season lead in Serie A

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has admitted he decided to retire in the summer, only to change his mind and sign with the Rossoneri for another season.

Ibrahimovic has proven once again to be evergreen this season, as the 39-year-old has scored 11 goals in 10 total appearances for Milan.

The Swede's form has helped Milan to a surprising early-season lead atop the Serie A table, sitting five points clear of city rivals Inter in second place. 

"The team is hungry, it has desire," Ibrahimovic said in an interview with former Milan team-mate Massimo Ambrosini on Sky Sport Italia.

"We are doing well. We must not have dreams or goals, but play one game at a time. Or rather, I have a goal. But the team must do as well as possible, because it is very young. 

"Now we can't relax. Everyone only remembers the last game."

After leaving the LA Galaxy at the end of the 2019 MLS season, Ibrahimovic opted to return to Milan seven years after leaving the club, saying he was looking forward to the challenge of changing the Rossoneri's fortunes.

"Instead of arriving in a team that is already at the top, it is better to bring them back to the top," Ibrahimovic said. "If I had been afraid, I would not have signed. Like at [Manchester] United, they told me that I only had to lose, that I was too old.

"Ten years ago I had another status, another ego. But today I have more experience. When you are young you are more rock 'n' roll, now I understand situations more."

After spending a half-season with Milan, Ibrahimovic said he was at a crossroads this summer. After initially deciding to retire, the veteran ultimately decided to reverse that decision and sign another one-year deal with the club. 

"[Milan manager Stefano] Pioli asked me what I wanted to do. I replied: 'No, I am not going to continue. Enough. My family is also important, I'm here alone, it's a sacrifice. For six months it's fine, but I don't want to stay another year.' 

"Pioli said to me: 'Okay, I respect you, okay.' 

"The next day we talked again: 'No, I've decided to retire. Forget the contract, at this age it's not important.'

"Then something changed. I didn't want to have any regrets. I called Milan and decided to go on. But at first I decided: 'No, I won't stay next year.'

"Already at United I was thinking of quitting. I was 35, 36 years old."

Ibrahimovic revealed that the career-threatening knee injury he suffered with United in 2017, followed by his rehab and return, convinced him that he should play as long as possible.

"After the injury I told myself to continue as long as I could hold on," Ibrahimovic said. "Without football who am I? When you don't do what you've done for 25 years, it's not easy. Am I ready? No, because I feel too good."