One of soccer's most colorful stars is hanging up his cleats.
AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimović is retiring, he announced after his team's 3-1 victory over Verona in its Serie A finale.
"It’s time to say goodbye to football, but not to you. It’s too difficult, there are too many emotions," an emotional Ibrahimović told fans in Milan.
Ibrahimović, 41, played for nine teams over a professional career spanning two continents and nearly a quarter of a century. His 561 career goals for club and country rank 14th all-time, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.
Born in Sweden to immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, Ibrahimović debuted with Malmö FF in his home country in 1999. He moved to Ajax in 2001, with which he won Eredivisie twice and the KNVB Cup in 2002.
Ibrahimović finished his career with 12 league titles (not counting two revoked with Juventus as part of its mid-2000s match-fixing scandal), three cup titles, and a Europa League title with Manchester United in 2017. In the United States, he made two MLS All-Star teams after joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2018.
As famous as he became on the pitch, Ibrahimović was known as much for his quotes off of it. Once asked what he had bought a significant other for an engagement present, he replied, "What do you mean, 'present?' She got Zlatan."
Similarly, Sweden faced a playoff to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, Ibrahimović mused that only God knew who would advance. When a reporter noted that it would be hard to convey such a request, Ibrahimović said, "You're talking to him."
Appropriately, Ibrahimović told fans in his farewell speech, "I’ll see you around if you are lucky. Forza Milan and goodbye."