In the U.S., it’s fair to say that soccer takes a back seat to other sports. The NFL, NBA, and MLB all boast superstar athletes while professional soccer players rarely become household names. To shift attention to the sport, the MLS often needs to rely on foreign talent coming to play in the league. Earlier this year, that talent arrived with a bang. Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned up to stake his claim in Los Angeles when he joined the LA Galaxy.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Past Glories
Zlatan is no stranger to causing a commotion. He is the world’s second-most decorated active footballer. That’s because he has won an incredible 32 trophies at the European club level. The majority were with Paris Saint-Germain.
He’s also the leading goal scorer for his native Sweden and was the Swedish player of the year 11 times.
His Move To Los Angeles
The MLS has a peculiar pay structure which makes it hard for the league to attract top international talent. However, every team is allowed to break that structure for one player.
In Los Angeles, that player is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Inspired by the success that other big stature European players – such as David Beckham – have seen in the MLS, Zlatan has chosen to end his career in America.
This Is Not Retirement
If you saw the game this week, you’ll know that Zlatan is not moving to Los Angeles to retire with a big payday. His debut saw him facing Los Angeles FC in a heated derby match. His first goal was the kind of sublime move that European fans have come to expect but which wowed the opposition with its quality.
His second was simply the act of a man who knows he can deliver. As he said following the match, “I heard the crowd saying ‘We want Zlatan, we want Zlatan’, so I gave them Zlatan.” Los Angeles, there’s a new king in town, and his name is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.