The striker announced to AC Milan fans that he will hang up his boots after the game after they played their final game of the season against Hellas Verona on Sunday. Ibrahimovic was in tears in front of the San Siro crowd as he bid farewell to the club and called time on his glittering career.
While Ibrahimovic is rightfully regarded as one of the finest attackers of the modern era, he is also known for his unique personality traits. The 41-year-old boasts a fiery personality and a tendency to speak his mind and quite naturally instigate many controversies. As the Swedish icon bows out of the game, we will take a look at the five most controversial moments of his career.
Ibrahimovic threatened to break Rafael van der Vaart’s legs
In 2004, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael van der Vaart were teammates at the Dutch side Ajax and both were pretty much in the formative years of their careers. However, the two were not on best terms and Ibrahimovic tackled the Dutchman so hard that he tore his ankle ligament during a game between Netherlands and Sweden.
Van der Vaart was convinced that the tackle was a deliberate one and he took to the media to let the world know, to which Zlatan did not respond very nicely. Van der Vaart said that Zlatan did it on purpose to which the Swede replied by saying, “I didn’t injure you on purpose, and you know that. If you accuse me again I’ll break both your legs, and that time it will be on purpose.”
Ibrahimovic punched his teammate Mido at Ajax
Zlatan Ibrahimovic became a controversial figure at a very early stage of his career and made the headlines again during his Ajax days. He once punched Egyptian striker Mido during his Ajax days after a heated debate between the two after a game. Zlatan Ibrahimovic announces retirement at 41; breaks into tears at San Siro
Ibrahimovic was banned for violence on the pitch
Ibrahimovic was quite a physical player but his physicality often went beyond the permissible limit. This often resulted in the Swede getting the ban on a number of occasions. For instance, while playing for AC Milan in 2011 in a match against Bari, he was cautioned for a deliberate handball early in the match.
Later, he punched defender Marco Rossi, which resulted in a straight red card that banned him for three games. The striker was also involved in another incident when Milan faced Napoli in a league encounter. Jasprit Bumrah’s heartfelt tribute to ‘inspiration’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Sweden star retires
When defender Salvatore Aronica was appealing for a foul, Ibrahimovic calmly walked up to him and swung his arm and slapped him right across his face. He was given another three-match ban.
At PSG, he once kung-fu kicked onrushing goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier in the chest as he tried to control the ball and was subsequently handed a two-match ban for this incident.
Ibrahimovic called France a ‘s**t country’ and condemned the referees
Zlatan Ibrahimovic found himself in hot water after he sparked a political row after he attacked a referee and called France a “s**t country.” He was heard shouting “Wake up, wake up, we’re not amateurs. F***ing a*****e.
“I’ve never seen this in my 15 years playing football. I’ve been playing for 15 years and I’ve never seen [good] refereeing in this s**t country. They don’t even deserve PSG in this country.” This led to a severe political row between the player and France and he was also handed a four-game ban by Ligue 1.
Ibrahimovic hit out at Pep Guardiola
Ibrahimovic had a pretty poor relationship with now-Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and has often insulted the Spaniard in the past. The two got at loggerheads while Ibrahimovic played under Guardiola at Barcelona and the two had a fallout.
They did not speak for months and things got so ugly that one fine evening in the dressing room, the Swedish striker threw a training kit box across the room and furiously abused and insulted Guardiola.