Zlatan Ibrahimovic released by Manchester United ahead of LA Galaxy move
Ibrahimovic is set for a move to the United States.
Manchester United have confirmed the termination of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract as the striker prepares to join the LA Galaxy.
The 36-year-old was released last summer after a fine first season at Old Trafford ended in a serious knee injury, only to be rewarded with a new contract until the end of the 2017-18 season in August last year.
However, Ibrahimovic has only managed seven appearances this term as a knee issue halted his comeback and United have now confirmed his exit.
53 games.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 22, 2018
One Zlatan Ibrahimovic. pic.twitter.com/Fz4LmnMn1H
Press Association Sport understands the 36-year-old is set to sign for Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, with confirmation possible as early as Friday.
A statement from United read: “Manchester United confirms that it has agreed to the termination of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract with immediate effect.
“Everyone at the club would like to thank Zlatan for his contribution to the team since his arrival and wishes him well for the future.”
Ibrahimovic released a statement on Instagram, alongside a picture of him arm wrestling with a red devil in a nod to United’s nickname.
He wrote: “Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history.”
Ibrahimovic returned for United in November after recovering from surgery to repair his ruptured cruciate ligament.
But his last game was on Boxing Day, when he was substituted at half-time of the 2-2 draw at home to Burnley, and, although earlier this month he said he was targeting the Champions League last-16 second leg tie with Sevilla, he did not make the matchday 18.
The arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January and the form of Romelu Lukaku have made it even less likely for Ibrahimovic to regain his place and, with question marks over his fitness and his contract ticking down, the time appears right for a move.
Manager Jose Mourinho began to pave the way for an exit when he said in January he would not stand in the former Sweden international’s way if he wanted to leave Old Trafford.
Earlier this month the United boss admitted he expected the striker to leave at the end of the season.
Ibrahimovic, who scored 29 goals in 53 matches for United, would be the latest big-name signing for the Galaxy following the likes of former United and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham and ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
However, MLS has moved away from signing ageing players in recent years.
Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move from United to the Chicago Fire last March was the exception rather the rule, with the 12 designated players brought from outside MLS for the 2018 season having an average age of 23.16 years old.
However, Ibrahimovic’s talent and standing in the game has proved understandably attractive for the Galaxy.
The most successful team in MLS history need a statement signing after a poor campaign and the arrival of Los Angeles Football Club.
The new kids of the block have won the first two matches in MLS, with coach Bob Bradley and the likes of Carlos Vela being embraced by the LA football community.