It’s been about a year since the towering Swede Zlatan Ibrahimović graced the pitch.
His absence has not gone unnoticed, and the football world is wondering whether we are witnessing the beginning of the end.
Ibrahimović has easily been one of football’s brightest talents, reaching the game’s upper echelons in a glittering career with few blemishes.
While Zlatan’s playing career in football may be drawing to a close, a future off the pitch in Milan is a real possibility.
Yet another record
The last time Zlatan scored for the Rossoneri was on 9 January 2022 against Venezia to take his tally for the club to 92 goals in 159 appearances.
His last goal means Ibrahimović has scored against 80 different teams in the ‘Big Five’ leagues in Europe,
equalling the record set by another mercurial striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, just a month before. No other player has reached that record to date.
Ibrahimović’s impressive longevity places him in the esteemed company of legends like Totti and Ryan Giggs. The Swede has amassed 23 calendar years in top-flight football for the national team, starting in 1999, with a brief break in 2000, where he played for the Swedish B team.
A new act
However, time has seemingly stopped for the charismatic striker.
There are no goals or appearances to speak of, and a very slim chance that AC Milan will renew his contract.
The Rossoneri may no longer enlist the talents of Ibrahimović on the pitch. Still, given his widespread popularity, they may approach him for a role as ambassador.
The future beckons
We have already seen the knock-on effects of a star’s association with a club in the Ronaldo-Al Nassr partnership.
Zlatan is a heavyweight in his own right, with almost 58 million followers on Instagram, which eclipses the 12 million of Milan. The Swedish forward has a cult following who is enthralled by his humour, antics, and cameos off the pitch. There is bound to be an avalanche of lucrative sponsorship and advertising opportunities flowing his way.
Like Ronaldo, Zlatan is also a passionate entrepreneur, having built brand new padel courts in Milan. The city is a thriving hub of sports and entertainment, all the more reason for the ambitious Swede to explore his options.
The curtain on Ibrahimović’s career and his time at the San Siro may be falling, but his life after football is steadily rising.
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