Zlatan Joins La Galaxy
After two seasons at Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimović has left the club by mutual consent and joined American Major League Soccer team LA Galaxy. Zlatan was expected to leave the club at the end of the season but has seen little action since recovering from a knee injury.
Zlatan Ibrahimović has called time on his stint at Manchester United and starts what is likely to be the last chapter in his illustrious playing career with Los Angeles Galaxy. The 36-year-old has reportedly signed a two-year contract, following in the footsteps of other high profile players such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard who made the switch to the MLS league.
Ibrahimović has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world but it was at lowly Swedish club Malmö FF that Zlatan first signed a professional contract in 1996, breaking into the first team in 1999.
His goal scoring exploits soon caught the attention of top clubs and even at a young age Zlatan possessed the self-confidence that would become his trademark. When Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger tried to sign him, and offered him a trial with the club, Ibrahimović famously said: “Zlatan doesn’t do auditions”.
After leaving Malmö, Zlatan enjoyed spells at Ajax (74 apps, 35 goals), Juventus (70 apps, 23 goals), Inter (88 apps, 57 goals), Barcelona (29 apps, 16 goals), Milan on loan (29 apps, 14 goals), Milan (32 apps, 28 goals) and Paris Saint-Germain (122 apps, 113 goals) before joining Manchester United. There, he scored 17 goals in 28 appearances before signing a new contract after suffering knee ligament damage playing against Anderlecht in the Europa League.
Whilst it would be easy to dismiss Zlatan’s move to LA as being an easy payday for the veteran striker, reports have emerged that Ibrahimović has taken a mammoth 95% pay-cut to secure his move to the States. He was reportedly earning £36 million a year at Manchester but will “only” earn £2.14 million at LA Galaxy. As Zlatan was once one of the highest paid footballers in the world, it is unlikely he needs the money.
In typical Zlatan style, the Swede took out a full-page advert in the Los Angeles Times to announce his arrival, that simply said, “Dear Los Angeles, You’re welcome”.
Although Zlatan is not expected to arrive in LA until late Thursday night, LA Galaxy manager Sigi Schmid has indicated that his new signing could play in Saturday’s fixture with local rivals Los Angeles Football Club.
Ibrahimović to play in the World Cup?
Despite Zlatan retiring from International football in 2016, the player himself hasn’t ruled out a return to play for Sweden in this year’s World Cup. At international level Ibrahimović was just as ruthless as he is at club level. In 116 games for his country he scored 62 goals, including this world class effort against England in 2012.
In an interview for the official MLS website he states that he will come out of international retirement if he “feels well”. It could be that the pace of the MLS will not be as intense as the Premier League, giving Zlatan the chance to shine on the biggest stage in football one last time.