Thursday 20 September 2018

Ibrahimovic announces move to the Los Angeles Galaxy with typical swagger

The veteran Swede last played for Manchester United on Boxing Day.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to make a major impact on the MLS after signing for the Los Angeles Galaxy (Martin Rickett/PA Images)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to make a major impact on the MLS after signing for the Los Angeles Galaxy (Martin Rickett/PA Images)

By Press Association Sport Staff

Zlatan Ibrahimovic declared himself “pumped” and “ready to conquer the US” after his move to the Los Angeles Galaxy was finally confirmed.

Manchester United revealed on Thursday that the 36-year-old Swede had been released from his contract.

The front page of the LA Times sports section on Friday showed Ibrahimovic in a Galaxy jersey, with official confirmation of the move later coming from the Major League Soccer franchise.

Ibrahimovic has never been short on self-confidence, which continued with his introduction video from Galaxy’s official Twitter account showing the Swede walking alongside a lion before declaring: “Los Angeles, Welcome to Zlatan.”

The LA Times had also earlier featured a full-page advert about Ibrahimovic which simply read: “Dear Los Angeles, You’re welcome.”

However, despite all of his bravado, the 36-year-old still has questions over his fitness.

Ibrahimovic had returned to competitive action for United in November after recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured cruciate ligament but his last match was a first-half run-out on Boxing Day.

The former Sweden forward, though, is in no doubt of what impact he will be able to make on MLS.

“I know what I come with and what I am going to do,” Ibrahimovic said in a video interview on the Galaxy official website. “This is just a new adventure for me, a new challenge and I am looking forward to conquer(ing) the US, just like I conquered Europe. I am pumped,”

“After 20 years in Europe, playing for the best clubs in the world with the best players in the world, I have been winning so much, when I think what I have collected, it is time to move to a different continent.

“For me there was no question about it, Galaxy was the team – I chose them, they didn’t have to chose me.

“I come to do exactly what I have been doing (for) the last 23 years, winning because I feel it is in my DNA. Wherever I have come, I have won. I am coming to win, to help, to make it better.”

Ibrahimovic said he was “training very hard”, felt “sharp” and was “like a little child who is looking for the candy” as he focused on a return to action.

“I know what I am able to do, I am not worried about that, the only thing is my knee has to follow what I want to do – and he will follow,” he added.

It has been reported Ibrahimovic’s deal with the Galaxy is worth three million US dollars (£2.1million) over two years.

The Swede has long been a target the LA Galaxy and follows the likes of former England captains David Beckham and Steven Gerrard to the StubHub Center, where he will play alongside ex-Chelsea and Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole.

In announcing the move, the Galaxy’s technical director Jovan Kirovski revealed they had been tracking Ibrahimovic since the end of his time with Paris Saint Germain in 2016.

It is hoped the arrival of Ibrahimovic will help the Galaxy return to the play-offs after they failed to qualify in 2017. They last won the MLS Cup in 2014.

“This thing was supposed to happen before, but it didn’t happen. But it is happening now, so it is destiny,” Ibrahimovic said.

“The legacy (of my time with the Galaxy) will be that I came, I conquered, I left.”

Press Association

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