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Zlatan Ibrahimovic: AC Milan striker out for eight months after knee surgery

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 40, has had surgery on his knee; the AC Milan striker is not expected to be back in action until midway through the 2022/23 season; Milan recently won their first Serie A title in 11 years

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had surgery on his knee and is set to be sidelined for the rest of the year

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed he was only able to train with his AC Milan team-mates 10 times over the past six months due to a knee injury that will now keep him sidelined for the rest of the year.

The 40-year-old, fresh from winning the Serie A title with AC Milan, had a planned procedure on his left knee to repair damage and instability caused by a previous anterior cruciate ligament injury and is expected to be out for at least the remainder of the year.

Despite the Swedish forward struggling with the injury that left him without an anterior cruciate ligament in his swollen left knee, he still managed to score eight goals in 23 appearances in Milan's Scudetto-winning season.

After his knee surgery, Ibrahimovic posted on Instagram: "For the past six months I played without an ACL in my left knee.

"Swollen knee for six months. I was only able to train with the team 10 times in the last six months. Took more than 20 injections in six months. Emptied the knee once a week for six months.

"Painkillers every day for six months. Barely slept for six months because of the pain. Never suffered so much on and off the pitch.

"I made something impossible to something possible.In my mind I had only one objective, to make my team-mates and coach champions of Italy because I made them a promise. Today I have a new ACL and another trophy."

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Ibrahimovic delivered a powerful speech to his team-mates after AC Milan won the Serie A title for the first time in 11 years

Ibrahimovic's current deal at the San Siro expires this summer and he is not expected to be fit until midway through the 2022/23 campaign.

A Milan statement on their official website 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 Hopital 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."

Ibrahimovic: I'm a little scared to stop playing

Ibrahimovic said earlier this season that he wants to stay at AC Milan for the rest of his career, admitting he is "scared to stop" playing due to the uncertainty of what comes next after retirement.

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Ibrahimovic said he is not planning to retire from international football yet despite Sweden failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup

"I want to play as long as possible. As long as I have that adrenaline, I will continue," Ibrahimovic told the Italian talk show Che Tempo Che Fa in December.

"Let's put pressure on Milan here to give me an extension and I hope to stay at 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."

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