Veteran AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has confessed that he feels a sense of "panic" when thinking about hanging up his boots.
Ibrahimović has been struggling with injuries this term, especially since the start of the year.
The 40-year-old has missed 18 games due to physical issues and has started only two Serie A games since the start of 2022.
His contract expires in the summer and there had been speculation he could retire - something he emphatically denied during an interview with ESPN.
I'm in a situation now where I'm close to the goal line... so I'm a little bit panicking.
Because when it stops, what do you do? I know I can do a lot of things, I will have offers from all over the place.
But the adrenaline I get on the field, I will never get that (from) something else.
I've tried to postpone (it). For me to take that step over the goal line is to stop playing the game. I'm trying to push (that step) as far away from me as I can.
His contract runs out in the summer, and both Milan [coach] Stefano Pioli and [director] Paolo Maldini have recently claimed that Ibrahimović has the last word and he will decide whether to continue or not until 2023.
I need to be healthy and I want to feel good when I play. (It) makes no sense to play the game if you suffer too much, better to be realistic and tell yourself... it's enough.
But I'm not there yet. And I'm not even thinking about it. Because focusing on it means that in my head I'm prepared to stop. And if I'm prepared to stop, I'm not able to help my teammates and not helping myself achieve what I want.