At 36 years old, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is no spring chicken, and considering that he just came off a major injury on his knee in April last year, nobody really thought of the Swedish striker as other than a novelty to Major League Soccer at this point.
The Lion has to remind everybody again who the King of the Jungle is.
In fact, coach Sigi Schmid only ordered Ibrahimovic to go in when there were only 19 minutes remaining and the LA Galaxy were down 3-1 against Los Angeles FC at the StubHub Center. The crowd by then was chanting “We want Zlatan!” “We want Zlatan!”
He immediately made his mark when he launched a volley from about 40-feet out beyond the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Tyler Miller and into the net.
It was ballsy, and it was beautiful. It was trademark Zlatan.
Later on, he conceded that kicking that far out wasn’t about supreme confidence. He sheepishly admitted that he couldn’t run with the ball.
“It was hot. Believe me, after ten minutes I needed sun cream,” he quipped. “The first time I sprint I felt my breath go.”
When he saw the goalkeeper far away from the net, he saw his opportunity and took it.
To be fair, Ibrahimovic barely had time to get acquainted with his teammates as he arrived 48 hours earlier. He’s still jetlagged and he still hasn’t gotten his conditioning right.
But then again, Ibrahimovic was hardly surprised because he scored at every debut he had with a new team.
Schmid said that Ibrahimovic’s greatest asset is his willingness to fail.
“Ibrahimovic is the perfect definition of a guy who always dares to be brilliant, and if you do that you can pull off some things,” he said. “That’s got to be a goal that’s going to go around the world. I’m sure it’ll be a YouTube sensation. It was fantastic.”