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Zlatan Exits Football By Aiming Most Zlatan Quote Possible At Verona Fans

Zlatan Exits Football By Aiming Most Zlatan Quote Possible At Verona Fans
James Fenton
By James Fenton
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed his retirement from football, by making an on-pitch announcement after AC Milan's Serie A victory over Verona on Sunday.

24 years after making his senior debut for hometown club Malmo, the 41-year-old Swede was brought to tears as he confirmed the news to his adoring Milanese public.

Zlatan's announcement brought an end to his second spell with AC Milan, and while the love is clearly mutual between he and their supporters, a few mischievous Verona fans attempted to dampen the occasion by drowning out the speech with boos.

Zlatan puts Verona fans in their place

However, Ibrahimovic is a man who will be remembered for his well-timed quips as much as his undoubted talents, and he saved one final tongue-lashing for supporters of the Venetian club.

"Keep booing," he said, turning to face the whistles coming from the away section at the San Siro. "This is the biggest moment in your year seeing me."

To be fair, he wasn't far wrong, as the preceding 3-1 defeat to Milan confirmed that Verona face a relegation play-off against Spezia, in order to save their Serie A status.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic tributes


Away from firing barbs at opposing fans, Zlatan's announcement on Sunday night brought instant reaction from around the football world.


Throughout his career, the forward made nearly 900 club appearances for nine clubs across seven countries, and Manchester United are among those who have paid tribute to their former player.

"A distinguished career for a man like no other," posted the Red Devils on social media, before adding a video of Ibrahimovic's 2016/17 highlights, accompanied by the caption "one of a kind."

Zlatan will no doubt be remembered as one of the iconic players of his generation, with a personality to match his unique footballing talents.



17 September 2020; Dean Williams of Shamrock Rovers and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan during the UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying Round match between Shamrock Rovers and AC Milan at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile


Footballing icon

At his best, he never quite broke the Ronaldo/Messi duopoly in the hearts of football fans, only finishing as high as fourth in the Ballon d'Or rankings in 2013, but the list of trophies he helped his clubs to win would rival most players in European football history.

A Champions League winners' medal is notable by its absence in Zlatan's roll of honour, but that won't stop early 21st-century football fans remembering him fondly when they look back on the era.



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