Ibrahimovic and Five Other Serie A Stars Who Could Retire Next Summer

Whether we like to admit it or not, we Calcio fanatics are an emotional bunch. We tend to celebrate triumphs like there’s no tomorrow and grieve for our beloved club’s woes in a dramatic fashion. So when one of our favorite stars decides to hang his boots, we don’t it too well to say the least.

Unfortunately, this is a part of the sport, and perhaps it would serve us to prepare for the moment beforehand. So here are six Serie A players who could be set for their last hurrah before retiring at the end of the season.

Stefan Radu (Lazio)

Perhaps he isn’t the biggest household name on the list, but Stefan Radu now holds a special recognition as the longest serving Serie A player. The Romanian joined Lazio in 2008, and hasn’t donned any other jersey ever since. He has recently inherited the accolade following Giorgio Chiellini’s departure from Juventus.

During the last 14 years, we witnessed Radu’s development from a young and promising defender to a reliable though underappreciated stalwart in the Biancocelesti lineup to finally becoming a savvy veteran who still contributes to the cause.

But with father time catching up and younger defenders winning Maurizio Sarri’s favor, the Romanian center back could finally call it a day at the end of next season.

Miguel Veloso (Verona)

Once upon a time in Lisbon, Miguel Veloso was considered to be one of the best rising talents on the European stage alongside his then-teammate at Sporting Joao Moutinho.

While the 36-year-old couldn’t quite reach the heights foreseen by his admirers, he still managed to build a respectable reputation in Serie A during three separate stints at Genoa and his current run at Verona.

The Portuguese veteran has been plying his trade at the Marc’Antonio Bentegodi Stadium for the last three years, and while he remains a decent addition to the squad, it’s hard to imagine him playing a significant role beyond the next campaign.

Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

When Fabio Quagliarella escaped Torino’s wrath to rejoin Sampdoria in January 2016, most of us didn’t expect this return to last for long. After all, the striker was already at the autumn of the career at the time.

But six and a half years later, the veteran opted to renew his contract with the Ligurian side for another season, which will see him playing beyond his 40th birthday.

Yet, Fabio’s contribution to the Doria’s cause has been on the decline. For instance, he only found the back of net on four occasions last season in his 33 Serie A appearances, so another underwhelming campaign would surely spell the end of his days on a football pitch.

Franck Ribery (Salernitana)

Speaking of 39-year-old stars who refuse to quit, Franck Ribery has decided to linger in Salerno for another season. The Bayern Munich legend was widely expected to call it a day when he left the Bavarian giants in 2019. Instead, he showed up in Florence to sign a contract with La Viola.

In 2021, retirement once again knocked on the door when his Fiorentina contract expired, but the Frenchman refused to heed the call. However, his first campaign with Salernitana has been mostly a letdown, which leads us to believe that the next one should be his last… but with this guy, we wouldn’t advise you to bet on it.

Samir Handanovic (Inter)

Since 2012, Samir Handanovic has been the undisputed starter for Inter between the posts. The Slovenian has been simply unchallenged, and to be fair, very few goalkeepers would have been able to give him a run for his money during his heyday.

Unfortunately for the 38-year-old, his days as one of the best custodians in the world are far behind him, as his reactions have become slower with age, causing several deadly errors throughout the course of the campaign.

The Nerazzurri have made their intentions clear by adding André Onana to the fold. And while the old horse won’t go down without a fight, losing the battle for a starting spot against his younger counterpart would surely accelerate his retirement plans.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Milan)

In a recent statement, Zlatan Ibrahimovic loudly claimed that he’ll never retire from the sport which would become “dead” without his charismatic presence.

But while it’s hard to argue against his logic, the 40-year-old has already been relegated into a part-time performer if not less due to his never-ending injury woes. For instance, the Swede won’t return before February 2023, and even then, we simply don’t know for how long his knees will hold up.

The answer is probably “not for long”. After all, the iconic striker had revealed the great amount of pain he suffers from his constant treatment doses, which is something that he definitely doesn’t need to endure well into his 40’s.

Ibra’s retirement will be a sad by inevitable event for Serie A fans, and we’ll probably witness it sooner rather than later.

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