Ibrahimovic admits he is ‘close’ to retirement in revealing interview but is ‘not yet’ there

By Oliver Fisher -

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has given a revealing interview about what the future holds for him beyond the end of the season, and how he feels at AC Milan at the moment.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, there continues to be speculation about the potential that the Swede will extend for one more year – especially if Milan don’t win a trophy – or that he could become a coach, director or even join the agency of his late friend and advisor Mino Raiola.

Ibrahimovic gave a long interview to ESPN in which he talked about various topics including his current thoughts regarding his future, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.

“The team are working hard, we are making great sacrifices to reach our goals. The team are still young, but is growing and gaining more and more experience. We are at the top of the table, we must stay focused on what we have to do and we must do our best. In football, many things can change from one week to the next,” he said.

“I think the older you are, the more experience you have. I have learned a lot in my career from other players I have played with and from the coaches I have had. At my age it is time to give something back. There was a moment in my career when I learned a lot, without giving anything back.

“When one is young he tries to prove that he is always the best, but then the way of thinking changes. In our locker room there are many young people, me I try to help everyone and be the leader in my own way both on and off the pitch.

“When I am on the pitch I try to help them, when I am off I try to give all my support. The team is very open and eager to achieve the goals. If you don’t win it’s not easy because everyone plays to win some trophies.We must try to do our best every day.”

Reports continue to arrive from Milanello stating that the Swede is the first to arrive and the last to leave, with hours and hours of additional activity for a man who is now into his 40s, but he has been plagued by injury problems over the last couple of seasons.

“Obviously I’m frustrated because I would like to be on the pitch in every match. I love playing games, the adrenaline I get when I go on the pitch is incredible. If I can’t play, I try to help the team in another way, giving support to my team-mates. The most important thing is the team. I suffer when I’m not on the pitch, I’d like to do more and more.”

Ibrahimovic also addressed the elephant in the room which is what might be next for him in his illustrious career, one spanning three decades, and he seemed to drop a hint that retirement is close.

“I’m close to the goal line. I’m a little scared: if I have to stop, what do I do? What would the next chapter be? I know the various possibilities, I could do many things, but the adrenaline I have now on the pitch I don’t know if I could find elsewhere.

“I’m trying to postpone the goal line, playing and scoring goals. Obviously to keep playing I have to be physically well, I have to be able to do it, I have to have fun playing. It makes no sense to play if you suffer too much, you better be realistic and say to yourself, ‘That’s enough.’ And you start a new chapter.

“But if you are focused on this you are not focused on the rest. In my head there is not this. I retire, I would not be able to help my team-mates and myself in doing what I would like. The footballers players the same program every day. And I have been doing it for 25 years. You are like a soldier. I am close to this line, but not yet.”

Tags AC Milan Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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