Two of MLS's premier superstars, the pair are oft-mentioned at the top of all best in MLS conversations -- In fact, those discussions can't happen without the two. Their otherworldly talent, combined with the duo being captains and leaders of LAFC and LA Galaxy, means there's a natural rivalry brewing.
In the week leading up to El Trafico earlier this month, in which Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick and Vela a brace in a 3-2 Galaxy win, Ibrahimovic answered all questions defiantly that he is the league's best. Often compared directly with Vela, as the Mexican is on pace to set a new single-season goals record in MLS, Ibrahimovic wouldn't balk.
Vela didn't take it personally and doesn't think there's any air to clear as both players are set to represent the MLS All-Star team this week.
"I don't have any problem [with Ibrahimovic]," Vela told reporters after training. "We'll play together, we come here to have fun."
LAFC and Vela will get a chance at redemption against the Galaxy on August 25, this time at home.
"Soccer gives you many chances for revenge and there will be more games," Vela said. "You have to prepare and hope that the next one we can win."
Ibrahimovic and Vela will pull on the same jersey on Wednesday night against Atletico Madrid in the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target (8 pm ET | FS1, UniMas, TVAS, TSN).
“It’s good," Vela said of sharing a locker room with Ibrahimovic. "It’s a great experience to play with some of the best players in this league. We’re going to be teammates these next few days, we’re going to try to put MLS on a high level against Atletico and enjoy. I think this is an event where everyone enjoys themselves.”
Vela not only makes the All-Star Game for his second straight year, but he was voted team captain again.
"It’s a beautiful recognition from the fans," Vela said. "I want to thank everyone who voted for me. I hope not to let them down and to play a great game on Wednesday and give a little good soccer."
On top of all the Zlatan and All-Star questions, Vela discussed his Mexico future. He declined a call-up to the Mexican national team ahead of El Tri's eventual Gold Cup triumph earlier this summer and doesn't have any regret.
"I haven’t spoken to Tata [Martino, Mexico's head coach] on this topic," Vela said. "He already knows my position and he knows what I’m thinking. As I‘ve said there are a lot of young players who are doing well and are taking advantage of the opportunity and as I said, the national team doesn’t need me to be well and to be at a good level and they showed it at the Gold Cup."
Will he return in the future?
“It’s a complicated question," Vela said. "Obviously, first I’d have to speak to Tata and many other people. For the moment this is not a consideration.”