Ibrahimovic: ‘Difficult to stop playing because of ego, couldn’t refuse Milan offer’

Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks on in the Paddock prior to qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 08, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened up about his reasons for retiring, how he manages his ego and his new life as an advisor at Milan.

The former Sweden striker hung up his boots at the end of last season, drawing a close to an impressive 24-year playing career that saw him lift a number of major honours including five Scudetti, four Ligue 1 titles, a Europa League and a Club World Cup.

Ibrahimovic didn’t stay away from football for long, returning a few months after his retirement to work as an advisor for Milan owners RedBird, helping the direction of the project in the Lombardy capital. In recent months, he’s been working to find the right replacement for Stefano Pioli.

Ibrahimovic opens up

Speaking to Anas Bukhash’s ABTalks podcast, Ibrahimovic first discussed his life after hanging up his boots.

“I’m good, life is good, life is treating me good. Obviously, I stopped players football eight months ago, I have a different life now. I accepted stopping playing football which was a difficult thing because of my ego, because of the way I think about myself.

“I think I’m the best, I’m still the best, I could continue, but I chose to stop. Why? Because I want a good life for my family.

“I wanted to be able to do things with my sons, because my consequence was that I wouldn’t be able to do things with my sons because I had problems with one of my knees.

“So, I accepted it, I came to a moment where I said ‘it’s ok, let it go and start a new chapter in your life’.”

The former Sweden striker then commented on his move to the Rossoneri backroom.

“Then, a couple of months later, I met Gerry Cardinale who controls the RedBird fund that bought Milan, and he gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

“I started to work with Milan, and I’ve been with Milan three or four months, and he’s treating me good, I have to say.”

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Finally, Ibrahimovic remembered his former agent Mino Raiola.

“When my agent Mino Raiola passed away, it was a big hit for me. I cried a lot. It’s still not finished because sometimes I get flashbacks.

“It brings me down in a way that I miss him too much. Everybody that knows him and me understands how close we were. What would I say if I could text him? I miss you.”

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