AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has insisted that he has nothing to prove and will not retire unless it is out of his hands.
Ibrahimovic returned to haunt his former boss Jose Mourinho on Sunday evening as AC Milan came out 2-0 winners against AS Roma in Serie A.
The former Swedish international scored a marvellous free-kick to give the visitors the lead in the first half and was a prominent threat throughout the match as he also won a penalty, which Frank Kessie dispatched comfortably.
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A 40-year-old dominating elite football would have been unheard of in the past, but Ibrahimovic is proving to the doubters that age is just a number, as he continues to be an important asset for an excellent AC Milan team.
Even more remarkably, Ibrahimovic is insistent that retirement is not an option anytime soon.
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“The secret to my longevity is in the mind, as I am trying to prove that 40 is just a number and I can continue to do what I love," he told Telefoot.
“I don’t want to stop until I am kicked out, well and truly finished.”
Zlatan celebrates his goal with his Milan teammates
Image credit: Getty Images
The striker made his first ever professional appearance in 1999 after breaking through the Malmo ranks in Sweden. 15 per cent of players currently in the top Italian division were not even born when he made his debut, putting into perspective the longevity of Ibrahimovic’s success.
Since his debut, he has gone on to make 582 appearances across seven different leagues and has scored 385 goals and provided 135 assists in the process.
This is currently Ibrahimovic’s second spell at AC Milan after originally joining the Rossoneri in 2010 after an unsuccessful stint at Barcelona.
The former Swedish international became a Serie A champion with the Milan side in his first season with the club, but they have not won the Scudetto since that season. Ibrahimovic believes this current crop has a great chance of changing that.
“We can believe in our chances," he said.
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He has scored three goals in five league games so far this season after suffering injuries to his knee and Achilles that kept him out of the side.
The injury concerns may be a factor in Ibrahimovic’s decline but he said he wants to keep improving every day and, despite not being able to perform how he used to before, he has more intelligence and experience which will go in his favour.
The 40-year-old isn’t the only veteran striker in world football who is proving that age is just a number, which Manchester United fans will tell you more than most.
At 36 years old, Cristiano Ronaldo is still proving to be the one of the world’s deadliest strikers and will take great positives in seeing Ibrahimovic, who is four-years senior to him, still performing at the highest level.
If Ibrahimovic can avoid the constant injuries, he will be important for AC Milan in their pursuit of the league title.
By Bailey Keogh
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