AC Milan veteran striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has undergone knee surgery that might keep him out of football until the mid-2022-2023 season.
The 40-year-old Swedish striker who is not planning to retire anytime soon decided to undergo the surgery after helping AC Milan to win the 2021-2022 Serie A title for the first time in 11 years, struggling with a “Swollen knee”.
Ibrahimovic had planned to undergo the surgery to repair damage on his left knee months before the end of the 2021-2022 season. Note that the Swedish striker has been battling instability on his left knee since he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Hence, the surgery is expected to keep the knee in shape.
Reports in Italy confirmed that the veteran footballer whose contract with AC Milan is expected to expire on June 30, 2022, would be sidelined for eight months to give room for the stitches on his left knee to heal.
This means the possibility that AC Milan would extend the contract of the veteran striker is very slim since he would not be available for most parts of the coming season.
A statement from AC Milan read: “AC Milan announces that Zlatan Ibrahimovic underwent an operation on his left knee carried out by D Bertrand Sonnery-Cottet, with the club’s medical director Stefano Mazzoni in attendance, at the Hospital Jean Mermoz in Lyon.
“The arthroscopy had been planned for a while to definitively resolve the joint’s instability through the reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament, with lateral reinforcement and meniscus reparation.
“The operation was a complete success and the prognosis is estimated between seven and eight months.”
When will Zlatan Ibrahimovic retire from football?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic started his professional football career at a Swedish club, Malmö FF on January 1, 1999. From there, he joined Ajax on July 1, 2001, for a transfer fee worth €7.80 million.
Since then, Ibrahimovic has played at some of the best clubs in the world including Juventus, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain, Manchester United LA Galaxy, and now AC Milan.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic who made his international debut on January 31, 2001, has scored 62 goals in 121 international appearances.
In the history of his club career, Ibrahimovic has scored 492 goals and provided 203 assists in 815 games in all competitions. He has won almost everything in club football but is yet to win the UEFA Champions League.
In an interview he granted to an Italian talk show Che Tempo Che Fa in December 2021, Zlatan Ibrahimovic said: “I want to play as long as possible. As long as I have that adrenaline, I will continue.
“Let’s put pressure on Milan here to give me an extension and I hope to stay in Milan for life. I still have objectives that I can achieve and I want to win another Scudetto.
“I don’t know what will happen after football, so I am a little scared to stop. We’ll see, but I want to continue playing so that I don’t have any regrets.”
Ibrahimovic further showed that he is not ready to say goodbye to football through a speech he made after AC Milan won the 2021-2022 Serie A title in May.
The veteran striker said: “Guys, stay calm. I’m not about to say goodbye. Guys, from day one… when I arrived, then others arrived after. Very few believed in us.
“But when we understood we needed to make sacrifices, suffer, believe, and work when this happened, we became a group.
“And when you’re a group, you can achieve the things we’ve achieved. Now, we’re the Champions of Italy.
“First of all, I want to thank all the players.
“We also want to thank Paolo (Maldini), Ricky (Massara), and Ivan (Gazidis).
“It hasn’t been easy but we’ve been a real group this season. At the beginning of the campaign, no one believed in us but through these principles, we became stronger. I’m very proud of all of you.
“Now do me a favor: celebrate like champions. Because it isn’t Milan that belongs to AC Milan, Italy belongs to AC Milan!”
As it stands, Zlatan Ibrahimovic can only be forced out of football through injuries. Hence, if AC Milan fail to extend his contract this summer, it might be difficult for him to get another club with his current fitness level and that might signal the end of his illustrious football career.