Former AC Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.
Mandzukic was released by the Rossoneri this summer after his six-month contract came to an end, and he found his name linked with a whole host of teams across the globe, including links to Barcelona.
Just a few days after the closure of the transfer window, Mandzukic confirmed that his football career had come to an end, announcing his retirement in the former of a letter to his younger self on Instagram.
“Dear little Mario. When you put these boots on for the first time, you won’t even imagine what you will get to experience in football,” he wrote. “You’ll score goals at the biggest stages and you’ll win the biggest trophies with the biggest clubs. Proudly representing your nation, you will help write the history of Croatian sports.
“You’ll succeed because you’ll have good people around you – teammates, coaches, fans, and family, agent and friends who will always be there for you. You’ll be forever grateful to all of them!
“Above all, you’ll succeed because you’ll always give your best. At the end, that’s what you’ll be most proud of. You’ll sacrifice a lot, but you’ll know it was worth it because of all the amazing moments.
“You’ll recognise the moment to retire, to put these boots in a cabinet and you’ll have no regrets. Football will always be a part of your life, but you’ll look forward to a new chapter. Enjoy, from your big Mario.
“P.S. If you happen to play vs England in the World Cup, just be ready around 109th minute.”
The announcement brings an end to a 15-year playing career which took Mandzukic all across the globe and yielded some of the biggest trophies on offer.
A four-time Serie A champion with Juventus and a two-time Bundesliga winner with Bayern Munich, Mandzukic also led the German side to Champions League glory in 2013, with the Croatia man scoring the opening goal in the final.
He would go on to score on that grand stage yet again a few years later, firing home one of the competition’s most spectacular bicycle kicks in a losing effort against Real Madrid.