- Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the oldest players still in professional football in the world
- The AC Milan forward is not yet thinking about hanging his boots in football
- The Sweden international has said he will only retire when he sees someone better than him
AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said he will only consider retirement when there is someone better to take his place.
The 40-year-old experienced something of a European resurgence after returning to Milan from the LA Galaxy in January 2020, scoring 33 goals in 55 Serie A appearances since then.
However, 20 of those goals came in 2020 alone, with Ibrahimovic subsequently dealing with a succession of fitness issues in 2021.
The Sweden international says he wants to play as long as he can, though, which means continuing until another player deserves to be picked ahead of him.
“The future is yet to be written. I don’t plan. Let’s see what happens,” Ibrahimovic told UEFA.com.
“I don’t want to regret stopping football and then saying that I could continue to play football, because then I’d regret it for the rest of my life, seeing that I could have continued.
“I want to play as long as I can. The reality is I’ll play until I see that someone is better than me, so I’m still playing.”
Despite being limited to 18 appearances in the league this season, Ibrahimovic is Milan’s joint-top scorer alongside Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud with eight goals.
Ibrahimovic also shared the scoring burden in Milan’s last successful Scudetto charge, netting 14 times in 2010-11 – a tally matched by Alexandre Pato and Robinho – while supplying 11 assists.
Although he has continued to perform at an elite level in the intervening years, the veteran striker knows his incredible career must eventually come to an end.
“I know one day it will stop, and I won’t have that adrenaline anymore,” Ibrahimovic said. “This is a problem for every football player because you have adrenaline when you play football.
“That adrenaline, you will never get in doing something else because we are programmed.”