Zlatan Ibrahimovic explains why he doesn’t consider retiring and admits he committed an intentional foul on Cesar Azpilicueta during the international break.
The Swede scored a brace in Milan’s 4-3 loss against Fiorentina on Saturday and despite turning 41 in 2022 he doesn’t consider retiring.
His contract with Milan expires at the end of the season, but according to reports in Italy he will extend his stay at the club until 2023.
“This morning I had pain everywhere but as long as I have objectives, as long as I have adrenaline, I keep going,” the Swede told the Guardian.
“I know I’m coming to something good. I’m coming to somewhere I need to work to keep myself at the top.
“I will keep doing it as long as I can. I don’t want to have that regret if I stop and then, in a couple of years, I’m sitting with you and saying: ‘I could have continued because I was feeling good.’ It’s better to be totally finished and say: ‘I cannot do it any more.’ But I can still do it and I am doing it.
“It’s not about contracts or being famous. I don’t need that. The only thing that keeps me going is the adrenaline because every morning I have pain everywhere.
“But getting two more followers will not heal you. Getting more money will not heal you. Getting attention will not heal you. What will heal you is adrenaline.
“I don’t have problems suffering. For me, to suffer is like breakfast. But many people don’t understand suffering because the new generation, with all these platforms, have to do little to get credit.
“The generation before that you had to do a lot to get a little. I’m very proud I came from the old generation.”
The former Juventus and Inter striker returned to Milan in January 2020 for a second spell at San Siro.
He had already played with the Rossoneri from 2010 until 2012 scoring 42 goals in 61 appearances.
“When I was first here we were superstars,” said Ibra. “Now it’s full of talent, the youngest team in Europe, but we’re on top.
“So it’s a different project and it’s more satisfying because if you succeed with superstars, it’s expected. This is not expected.
“I’m very proud because I see these young players taking more responsibility, the mentality changing. That is my happiness now. That is my adrenaline. I go out and run as much as them.
“They make me look young. It has this effect, like Benjamin Button. After six months here you will have dark hair, trust me.”
The 40-year-old also commented on a controversial foul he committed on Chelsea and Spain defender Azpilicueta during the November break.
Ibrahimovic hit the Spaniard with his shoulder before a corner kick and picked up a yellow card which will force him out of action of Sweden’s first play-off match in March.
Spanish players and media protested as Ibrahimovic’s foul was worthy of a VAR check for a potential red card.
“I did it on purpose, the Milan striker admitted.
“I’m not ashamed to say it because he did something stupid to my player. Acting big to my player. It was a stupid thing but I would still do it to make him understand: ‘You don’t f….. do that.
“You don’t have balls to do it against me. But I will show you what happens if you do it to me.’ That’s why I did it.
It was not a good thing by me, but I would still do it. That’s me. I’m not ashamed to say it.
“It’s not about missing the play-offs. It’s about making the guy understand you don’t take the piss out of somebody laying [on the ground].
“You don’t attack a dog that doesn’t talk. Attack the one able to do something. It’s too easy to pick on my teammates who are 20 years old and very nice guys. I hope he understands now.”
I went to Milan to interview Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he was as interesting as always. He told me what it takes to play football at 40, inspiring a young Milan team, why he had to barge Azpilicueta, falling out with LeBron James and living in the moment…https://t.co/PwseEmq9qe
— Donald McRae (@donaldgmcrae) November 22, 2021