He turned 41 earlier this month and on account of a critical knee harm gained’t play till subsequent 12 months, however the very last thing on Zlatan Ibrahimović’s thoughts proper now could be retirement.
“I have a big passion for my game,” the AC Milan ahead advised CNN’s Becky Anderson in an interview.
“I have a different situation now with my age and with the teammates I have, but I’m enjoying every day because I think, when you stop football, you will miss it so much that you don’t want to have any regrets saying I should have kept playing,” added Ibrahimović, whose contract with Milan runs till June 30, 2023.
Now in his second spell with the Serie A membership – the Swede has made 74 appearances and scored 36 targets in all competitions for Milan – Ibrahimović helped the Rossoneri final season win its first Serie A title in 11 years.
“I’m trying to stay at the level with these young guys working hard and just to keep the rhythm,” added Ibrahimović, who’s Sweden’s all-time high scorer with 62 targets.
If he’s not considering retirement fairly but, Ibrahimović does admit that when he’s not contributing to the group, he can be “done” taking part in.
“I want to be healthy and, when I’m on that level, then I keep playing and see how far I can take it,” stated the Swede.
“As long as I can produce results, I will still play. The day I slow down, I want the people around me to be honest and say he’s slowing down and then I’ll be realistic.”
After Milan’s Scudetto success, the Swedish striker revealed on social media that he performed the final six months of the season with out an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee – the sturdy band of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and the knee joint.
“Took more than 20 injections in six months,” stated Ibrahimović stated in a put up printed to his verified Instagram account.
“Emptied the knee once a week for six months. Painkillers every day for six months. Barely slept for six months because of the pain. Never suffered so much on and off the pitch.”
Nonethelss Ibrahimović nonetheless performed 23 out of 28 league video games final season and scored eight targets.
“I think in my case I have this drive, I want to become better every day,” Ibrahimović advised Anderson. “I’ve a mentality that if I don’t work onerous sufficient, I’m not feeling good.
“And I feel that brings you far, it brings you to a degree the place you problem your physique as a result of it’s all about difficult your self. How far are you able to attain? How far can you’re taking your physique?
This isn’t the primary time throughout his profession that Ibrahimović has been sidelined for a prolonged interval on account of harm – one other critical knee drawback when he was taking part in for Manchester United.
The harm was so unhealthy that it threatened to finish his profession.
“That was my first major injury so that everything was new for me,” stated Ibrahimović as he mirrored on the harm he suffered in 2017, which saved him out of motion for almost a 12 months.
“So I didn’t actually know what was anticipating, what was forward of me after I was in that state of affairs.
“At first, I used to be a little bit bit afraid as a result of I didn’t actually know if I may come again or what would occur. But slowly, I took it day-by-day.
“It was more a mental thing where I had to keep calm, keep patient and, let’s say, do a boring training.”
Milan has gained the Champions League or European Cup seven instances, second solely to Spanish giants Real Madrid, although the Rossoneri haven’t been champion since 2007, in a uncommon barren spell for the membership on the European stage.
Since then, groups corresponding to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have benefited from the injection of enormous sums of money from oil-rich Gulf nations, whereas the English Premier League is awash with international funding.
“Money brings possibilities,” Ibrahimović advised Anderson. ‘Money brings alternatives that not maybe other ones cannot bring and the hype in Premier League is much bigger than Serie A and that’s why the financial system is far larger there.
“But it makes it exciting also because it becomes a challenge for the Italian clubs to beat the other clubs … still we are pro players and the ball is still a round thing and we are doing the same thing.”