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‘I’ll play until I see someone better than me’ – Zlatan Ibrahimovic



Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t want to retire from football and ‘regret it for the rest of his life’, so the Milan veteran ‘wants to play as long as possible.’.

The 40-year-old Swedish forward has scored eight goals and provided two assists in 18 Serie A appearances this season for the Rossoneri, being an important figure for the squad both on and off the pitch. He has struggled with both Achilles tendon problems and knee issues this season, forcing him to miss a number of matches.

Speaking to UEFA, Ibrahimovic first discussed how success and fame hasn’t forced him to forget his roots.

“Whatever happens to me – success, money, fame, whatever – I will still be the same person. I will not change. Either you like me or you don’t like me, but I was not born into this world to convince people to like me.”

He spoke about how it feels to play in the Champions League with Milan at the age of 40.

“I play with a lot of emotion for Milan because it’s a club that gave me happiness, it gave me a lot of things, and I think I’ve spent the most years at Milan out of all the clubs I’ve represented. It was nice to return to the UEFA Champions League with the club this season.

“After a couple of years struggling and not being in the Champions League, everybody was super excited and super happy to be back.

“I think it’s an amazing tournament. I scored a couple of goals that I enjoyed, and I got the opportunity to play against the best teams and players in Europe. How do I feel about the fact that I never won it?

“In two ways. To win it would be amazing. To not win it would not change me as a player. If I win it, it doesn’t mean that I’d be a better player because I am the best player. This has been proven; the best player doesn’t win everything.”

Finally, Ibrahimovic discussed the future and his plans regarding retirement.

“The future is yet to be written. I don’t plan. Let’s see what happens. 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.

“I know one day it will stop, and I won’t have that adrenaline anymore. 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. Every day we do the same thing.

“We wake up, we prepare, we train, we eat, and we rest. The next day, it’s the same thing. For 20 years, you do these things, and you get adrenaline from them.

“So when suddenly you stop, you don’t have this agenda, you don’t get the adrenaline anymore. And when it stops, you have to take it from there and begin from zero and start something new.”

The 40-year-old Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January 2020 after leaving LA Galaxy on a free transfer. Last season, he scored 17 goals and provided three assists in 27 appearances across all competitions for the Rossoneri, demonstrating his quality to coach Stefano Pioli.

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