Football fans around the world have been paying their homage to Swedish Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who announced his plans to retire from International competition after his side’s European Championship run ends. Ibrahimovic is expected to join Manchester United, next season.
After 115 games and 62 goals for his country in an international career that spanned over a decade and a half, the legendary Zlatan has decided to hang up his boots after Sweden’s run in Euro 2016. Sweden face Belgium in their penultimate game in Group E.
Zlatan is yet to open his goal scoring account at Euro 2016 and hasn’t been his usual match winning self. A draw against the Republic of Ireland and loss to Italy in their first two games leaves Sweden with one point and nothing but a win will do if they’re to stand a chance to progress.
In a press conference in Nice on Tuesday, he announced his intentions to retire from international football. He expressed his pride at captaining his country and thanked his supporters.
“The last game for Sweden at the Euros will be my last game for Sweden. I hope it is not tomorrow. I will not play at the Olympics so I hope we go as far as possible here. Either way, I will not end disappointed. I am very proud to be captain of Sweden. I want to thank all the supporters who have helped me achieve what I have done. Wherever I go I will always bring the Swedish flag with me and be proud of it. I will never be disappointed. Thank you everyone,” he said. [via Guardian]
Zlatan Ibrahimovic determined to retire from Sweden duty on his own terms https://t.co/H69G1kTpwq
— talkingbaws (@talkingbaws) June 21, 2016
The 34 year old striker could be heading to Manchester United this summer to top off a career that has seen him play for some of the most illustrious clubs in football history, including Barcelona, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan. The match against Belgium may be his very last in a Swedish jersey.
It didn’t take long for the tributes to pour in, after the announcement was made.
Zlatan is retiring from international football after #Euro2016, having seen Wesley Hoolahan’s screamer and realising he can’t compete.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 21, 2016
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) June 21, 2016
Sweden International football has been wonderous for having Zlatan Ibrahimovic. #ThanksZlatan 👏
— HHH. (@HasrulHamdan) June 21, 2016
Gary Linekar had his say on the matter,
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to retire from international football after @UEFAEURO . He came as a Swede and left as a full dinner.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 21, 2016
While everybody else paid homage as well.
Thank You Zlatan Ibrahimovic for all you have done for Sweden. You truly are a God, and it is a sad, sad day to see you leave.
— Joe Reid (@JoeReidTweets) June 21, 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaving NT football, Thank You God
— Mano (@Officialhbkmano) June 21, 2016
This legend could be playing his last game for Sweden today.Thank you Ibrahimovic for all the magic you’ve given us pic.twitter.com/QdpAM7EUDI
— A.K MUFC (@RedDevilFries) June 21, 2016
— Taimoor Ali (@T41M00R) June 21, 2016
— Hamza Ali (@hamzaoscar11) June 21, 2016
King of Sweden says goodbye, #Zlatan
— Rodrigo Velasco (@YakoRodrigo) June 21, 2016
Devastating news zlatan. Just devastating
— popadoc (@Brian_paz3) June 21, 2016
Zlatan to retire after the Euro. Came as a king, left like a king.
— Pratik (@gadapratik79) June 21, 2016
— TPC C Vizzy (@cade_varrichio) June 21, 2016
— SwedishJoker (@SwedishJoker92) June 21, 2016
A king forever! Zlatan retires from international football.
— Unisportstore.com (@unisportlife) June 21, 2016
— christian lego (@LegoChristian) June 21, 2016
— Teqball Sweden (@teqballsweden) June 21, 2016
And this sums it up perfectly…
Zlatan does not retire from International football. International football retires from Zlatan.
— Jen Rk.▲ (@Jenr7) June 21, 2016