The trophy cabinet was already smock-full. The Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic pushed in another trophy. But after Sunday’s Serie A title with Milan, most people wonder: Has the 40-year-old played his last football match? – We will see, we will see, says Ibrahimovic to TV4.
Immediately after the final whistle, Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed the match ball, and held it tightly under his arm. He did not intend to let go of this particular leather ball.
Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. For who knows if there will be a few more matches at elite level for the Swedish attacking veteran?
Sunday’s league title, his 14th in his career, may have been the last. Probably only Ibrahimovic himself knows that for sure. But if he wants to finish at the top, the situation will hardly get better, and probably the Swedish attacking icon – he turns 41 in October – enjoyed celebrating another great triumph.
Victory cigar in the mouth
When the Milan players stepped onto the pitch one by one after the match, to celebrate the title with the fans there, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his entrance with a cigar in his mouth and a giant champagne bottle under his arm.
Soon after, he and his black-and-red-striped friends squeezed in with a collective victory cheer when team captain Alessio Romagnoli sent the trophy into the sky.
Afterwards, the Swede was asked what is happening now.
– We’ll see, we’ll see. There is a lot of time, says Zlatan Ibrahimovic to TV4.
– I will not go into the details now. The details will come out soon and then I can talk about it. Now we will enjoy the win. Just enjoy.
Milan only needed one point against Sassuolo to secure the title. But from the first kick, it seemed that Stefano Pioli’s men did not intend to defend themselves for their first “Lo Scudetto” since the 2010-2011 season.
Above all, it was Rafael Leão who made life miserable for the home team. Leão twisted the ball on the opponents’ half of the field, and served Olivier Giroud to 1-0 in the 17th minute. Leão twisted the ball on the opponents’ half of the field and served Giroud to 2-0 in the 32nd minute.
And it was also the Portuguese who got the ball – again after Sassuolo neglected near his own penalty area – and played until 3-0, scored by Franck Kessié in the 36th minute.
Already there, the league title was basically in port. And when the score was the same with barely 20 minutes left to play, there was therefore no doubt from Stefano Pioli.
The Milan coach was desperate to reverse his team’s fortunes in the game, and ordered his team to change strategy with “Ibra”. A smile Pioli gave the 40-year-old Swede a wide smile and a friendly pat on the cheek. Then he sent his star out on the field to play the last minutes of the match and secure Milan’s 19th league title.
– It’s very emotional. The last time Milan won I was also involved, eleven years later I get to participate and win again. When I came back two and a half years ago, I said I would take Milan back to the top, and win the “scudetton”. Not many people believed in me, many laughed. It is a different tone now, says Ibrahimovic to TV4.
This week it was clear that Ibrahimovic will turn down the national team’s Nations League gathering in June due to his injury problems. It has further raised the question of whether this season could be Ibrahimovic’s last.
In that case, it was going to be an even more fabulous end, when Ibrahimovic nodded in Milan’s fourth goal of the evening in the 78th minute. But it was a little too good to be true – and the goal was ruled out for offside.
However, nothing could stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic from another league title.
– This win is different. It’s a completely different team. No one expected us to win. Last time I won with big champions, with big players who had won almost everything. This team, for 95 percent of the players in this team, is the first time they win anything, the first time they get to play the Champions League. This one feels more, says Ibrahimovic.
Born: October 3, 1981 in Malmö (40 years).
A-national matches / goals: 121/62.
Seniorklubbar: Malmö FF–2001, Ajax 2001–2004, Juventus 2004–2006, Inter 2006–2009, Barcelona 2009–2010, Milan 2010–2012, Paris SG 2012–2016, Manchester United 2016–2018, Los Angeles Galaxy 2018–2019, Milan 2020–.
League titles (14): 2002 (Ajax), 2004 (Ajax), 2005 * (Juventus), 2006 * (Juventus), 2007 (Inter), 2008 (Inter), 2009 (Inter), 2010 (Barcelona), 2011 (Milan ), 2013 (Paris Saint-Germain), 2014 (Paris Saint-Germain), 2015 (Paris Saint-Germain), 2016 (Paris Saint-Germain), 2022 (Milan). * Juventus were stripped of the league titles in 2005 and 2006 in connection with the bribery scandal “calciopoli”.
Domestic cup titles (17): Netherlands: cup (2002), super cup (2003). Italy: Super Cup (2007, 2009, 2012). Spain: Supercupen (2010, 2011). France: Cup (2015, 2016), League Cup (2014, 2015, 2016), Super Cup (2014, 2015, 2016). England: Super Cup (2016), League Cup (2017).
International cup titles (3): World Cup for club teams (2009), European Super Cup (2010), Europa League (2017).
Individual prizes (selection): Twelve-time winner of the Gold Ball (2005, 2007—2016, 2020). Player of the Year in Italian Serie A three times (2008, 2009, 2011). Player of the year in French Ligue 1 three times (2013, 2014, 2016).