Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes his MLS debut

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Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic made news in March after his transition from British Premiere League team Manchester United to the LA Galaxy, an American MLS team. The transfer was rumored for weeks beforehand but finalized March 23. According to ESPN, this transfer is the result of a torn ACL Ibrahimovic sustained in April 2017 and aggravated in December 2017. He was benched for 3 months after he reinjured himself in December before his contract was terminated in late March. He had played for Manchester United for 2 seasons out of the 14 he has played professionally.

Ibrahimovic scored a 40-yard goal in his debut game with the Galaxy against LAFC. His team won 4-3. The team lost his first home game against Atlanta on April 21. Analysts have mixed feelings about his performance so far. The transfer, according to an MLSsoccer.com contributor, may result in lineup changes that create issues for the team as a whole. However, Charlie Davies predicts that teammate Giovani dos Santos, has the potential to work well with Ibrahimovic because of their similar styles of play.

The reporter in another article by The Guardian argued that the Galaxy’s recruitment of Ibrahimovic harkens back to the league’s former reputation as a “retirement home” for European soccer players past their prime. MLS teams now “use their money to scout South America for the best, young talent.” In contrast, all of Ibrahimovic’s appeal lies in his personality. The prime of his soccer career is behind him. The move is seen as similar to the hiring of David Beckham, who played for the same team from 2007 to 2012.

Besides starting on a new team for regular season play, Ibrahimovic has also expressed his interest in joining Sweden’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, starting June 14 in Russia. He had originally retired from international play after the 2016 Euro Cup but recently stated that a World Cup would not be the same without him. He has hinted at his desire to return to the Swedish National Team. Sweden’s national team manager, Janne Andersson, said in an official statement March 24 that Ibrahimovic is not currently included in Sweden’s World Cup plans.

“If you rejected the team, I do not think you should come back, I respect what he said and those who said ‘yes.’ [Ibrahimovic] has not called me, but he’s definitely not included in plans for the World Cup,” Andersson said in an interview with TYC.

Photo courtesy of LA Galaxy

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