Now aged 40, Zlatan Ibrahimovic shows no signs of slowing down, scoring five times in just seven games for AC Milan who are chasing their first Serie A title since 2007
Zlatan Ibrahimovic says AC Milan’s talented youngsters have him feeling like Benjamin Button, with no plans to pull the curtain down on his illustrious career.
Now 40, the Swede has little to prove after more than two decades at the top of the game have earned him 31 trophies in five different countries.
But despite his advancing years and the aches and pains that go along with that, he still has the drive to continue breaking records.
“This morning I had pain everywhere but as long as I have objectives, as long as I have adrenaline, I keep going,” he 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.”
Ibrahimovic returned to AC Milan in 2019 after spending two years in MLS, where it appeared his career was winding down.
However, after proving he is more than able to contribute at the top level, he is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Zlatan already has five goals in Serie A this season, pushing the Rossoneri – the youngest side in Italy’s top flight – into a title tussle with the likes of Napoli and Inter.
Reports have suggested that the eccentric forward is set to sign yet another extension, which will see him play until at least 2023, but for Zlatan his rewards come from results on the pitch and results on the pitch alone.
“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.”
Milan have endured a difficult Champions League campaign so far, picking up just one point from their first four games. But ahead of Atletico Madrid’s trip to the Giuseppe Meazza, Ibrahimovic has hailed the youthful element of Stefano Pioli’s squad for helping him to feel as young and as motivated as ever.
“It’s incredible. They make me look young. It has this effect, like Benjamin Button. After six months here you will have dark hair, trust me.
“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.”