Zlatan Ibrahimovic ‘ready to go’ after signing for LA Galaxy
The veteran Swede last played for Manchester United on Boxing Day.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels “ready to go now” with LA Galaxy after his move to the Major League Soccer franchise 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, above the headline: ‘He’s Hard To Ignore’.
Official confirmation came from the MLS club later on Friday, with a short video on the club’s Twitter feed showing Ibrahimovic walking alongside a lion before declaring: “Los Angeles, Welcome to Zlatan.”
The LA Times had also featured a full-page advert about Ibrahimovic which simply read: “Dear Los Angeles, You’re welcome.” Ibrahimovic’s signature, above ‘#9’, and the Galaxy logo were at the bottom of the ad.
The former Sweden forward had returned to competitive action for United in November after recovering from surgery to repair his ruptured cruciate ligament.
Former Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been pictured in a Los Angeles Galaxy shirt in a local newspaperpic.twitter.com/IasnDXochZ— PA Dugout (@PAdugout) March 23, 2018
However, his last game was on Boxing Day, when he was substituted at half-time of the 2-2 Premier League draw at home to Burnley.
Despite a lack of recent game time, Ibrahimovic told the LA Times he was fully prepared to hit the ground running when he eventually links up with the MLS franchise.
“I am ready to go now,” Ibrahimovic said. “First of all, I’m there to play football. I’m not there for something else. My first objective is to play football and do what I’m good at.
“I’m excited to come over and to get the experience with the Galaxy and to explore how the football is there. I want to be part of it and make it better.”
The Swede has long been a target for LA Galaxy – and he now looks set to follow 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.
It has been reported Ibrahimovic’s deal with the Galaxy is worth three million US dollars (£2.1million) over two years.
Whatever the terms, Ibrahimovic believes he has the character needed to make an impact. Responding to a question on whether Los Angeles was “big enough to handle his personality”, the Swede said: “If it’s not, I’ll make it bigger.”
Zlatan also left a message for LA Galaxy fans in typical Zlatan style pic.twitter.com/HYRJah9XxO— PA Dugout (@PAdugout) March 23, 2018
Ibrahimovic added: “After being in Europe, winning 33 trophies, playing in the best teams in the world, playing with the best players in the world, I wanted to come to the US and play my game there.
“I wanted people to enjoy my game there and to win. And I chose the Galaxy to do that.”
The Galaxy have seen expansion franchise Los Angeles FC make a positive start to a first MLS campaign, winning both the opening fixtures to lead the Western Conference.
It is hoped the arrival of Ibrahimovic will help keep the Galaxy competitive, having last season failed to qualify for the play-offs as the quest for a first MLS Cup since 2014 goes on.
The Galaxy confirmed Ibrahimovic was joining them “through the usage of Targeted Allocation Money”.
Technical Director Jovan Kirovski said on the club’s official website: “Nobody believed it would happen, but then all of a sudden things got real.
“It’s not easy to sign a contract, but now, we finally got it over the finish line.”