Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed that he will be leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer with the club announcing that the striker will return to take on a senior management role once his career is over.
Ibrahimovic, 34, revealed that he would be playing his final home game for the club via Twitter on Friday morning ahead of Saturday’s final Ligue 1 match of the season against Nates.
“My last game tomorrow at Parc des Princes,” his tweet read. “I came like a king, left like a legend.”
My last game tomorrow at Parc des Princes. I came like a king, left like a legend pic.twitter.com/OpLL3wzKh0
– Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) May 13, 2016
Initially it seemed possible that the Sweden striker could be persuaded to sign a new one-year deal with PSG in order to spend a fifth season in the French capital.
Earlier this week, however, Ibrahimovic hinted that he might be open to a return to AC Milan, saying it was the biggest club he had played for and that he had not wanted to leave. The latest rumour suggested that the former Ajax and Barcelona player would opt to move to LA Galaxy over Manchester United.
The news means that Ibrahimovic’s final PSG appearance will likely be in the Coupe de France final against Marseille on May 21.
The Sweden captain’s tweet was soon followed by a club statement that detailed why the Swedish striker would not be extending his contract.
“Following discussions between Paris Saint-Germain and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent, the Club and its player have decided mutually not to renew the contract that links both parties until June 30, 2016,” the statement read. “They agreed as well that once the player ends his active football career he would be back in the club in a managerial capacity.
“Paris Saint-Germain is forever deeply grateful to Zlatan for his amazing four years that made him the greatest striker and one of the very best players in the club’s history. Ibra will have widely contributed to transforming Paris Saint-Germain into one of the biggest clubs in Europe.”
Ibrahimovic, who has scored 152 goals in 178 matches for the French champions, said he was “very proud” of what he had achieved.
“I loved every day I’ve spent here,” he said. “Paris Saint-Germain has become a STAR club in the world and I played a key role moving it forward. It is now the right time for me to take a different path.
“I would like to thank my teammates, the technical staff and all the people in the club. My heart is with the fans. They were amazing from the first day I came here. They are the best fans in France.
“It is not a farewell but only an AU REVOIR. I came like a king, I leave like a legend but I will be back.”
PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi also paid tribute to the man who joined from AC Milan in 2012.
“In just four years, Zlatan has greatly contributed to the history and notoriety of Paris Saint-Germain as well as promoting French football worldwide,” he said. “Ibra is truly a great man on and off the pitch. With his incredible talent and charisma, he has conquered the heart of the people of Paris and far beyond.
All the trophies he won with the club, the records he broke and his amazing goals will stay forever in our memories
“I am extremely proud of having welcomed Ibra in Paris and I’m now looking forward to the prospect of working with him again at the club when he finishes his career. He will always be home at Paris Saint-Germain.”
– PSG Officiel (@PSG_inside) May 13, 2016
There is a doubt over the Sweden captain’s fitness, however, after he went off injured in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Bordeaux.
PSG manager Laurent Blanc said the French champions would take no risks with the player’s fitness as he hopes to star for his country when Euro 2016 gets underway next month.
But Ibrahimovic will be keen to start against Nantes since he is only one strike from matching Carlos Bianchi’s club record of 37 goals in a league campaign.
A win over arch rivals Marseille in the cup final at the Stade de France would also be a spectacular way to sign off as it would mean that PSG will have claimed a clean sweep of domestic trophies two years running.
Few can argue with Ibrahimovic’s assertion that he would leave the Parc des Princes as a legend after joining from AC Milan in 2012.
In his first season in the French capital, Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in Ligue 1, the first time anyone had reached that total since Marseille striker Jean Pierre-Papin in the 1989-90 season.
He finished the 2013/2014 season with a club record 41 goals in all competitions, including 26 in Ligue 1 and 10 in the Champions League.
And in October, the Malmo native became PSG’s all-time leading goal scorer after scoring twice in a win over Marseille, needing just 137 games to pass Pauleta’s previous best of 109 goals for the club.
Last week, Ibrahimovic was voted Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons.
PSG have won the league in each of his four years in France and he also has three Coupe de la Ligue and one Coupe de France winners’ medal.