TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
Zlatan season is officially upon us.
After weeks of heavy rumors and reports, the LA Galaxy announced the signing of Swedish megastar Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Friday, signing the 36-year-old striker via Targeted Allocation Money one day after he parted ways with Manchester United.
Arguably the greatest No. 9 of his generation, Ibrahimovic has won more than 30 trophies over an illustrious career at some of the biggest clubs in the world, scoring more than 400 goals over 19 years at Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and MUFC. He also netted 62 goals in 116 caps for Sweden, playing in two World Cups and four European Championships.
“Coming to play in the United States, it is only fitting for me to join the most successful team in Major League Soccer, the LA Galaxy,” said Ibrahimovic in a team statement. “I am excited to join a club with a winning legacy that has embodied soccer in Los Angeles for over 20 years. I would like to thank everyone at the club for making it possible to play for the LA Galaxy. I am looking forward to joining my teammates, playing at StubHub Center in front of our fans and helping our team compete this season.”
Ibrahimovic has won league championships in Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands, as well as the UEFA Europa League and FIFA Club World Cup. While he's been unable to capture the UEFA Champions League trophy, he's the only player in that competition's history to play for seven different teams in it. The top scorer in Swedish national team history, Ibrahimovic retired from international play in 2016 but has publicly mulled returning to the squad in order to take part in this summer's World Cup.
“Adding one of the finest goal scorers in this sport’s history to our roster will tremendously help our club in the hunt for a sixth MLS Cup,” said LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid. “As one of the winningest players of all time, we believe he’ll have a very positive impact on our team. We are confident that Zlatan can be one of the most dangerous strikers in our league and we are excited to integrate him into our club.”
Famously bold, brash and charismatic, “Ibra” has repeatedly been linked to MLS over the years most often LA, but injury and circumstance have intervened at various times. He was reportedly close to signing with the Galaxy a year ago, only to suffer a serious knee injury in Europa League action.
He subsequently signed a new one-year contract with the Red Devils last summer and recovered from a torn ACL ahead of schedule, but he made only seven match appearances for Man United this season, limited by nagging injuries and fierce competition along the MUFC frontline.
Ibrahimovic joins a Galaxy squad looking to rebound from a 2017 campaign that ranks as the worst in the proud club’s history. Coach Sigi Schmid’s side have made a promising start to the new season, but have already seen Designated Players Romain Alessandrini and Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos sidelined by hamstring injuries.
The Galaxy visit Vancouver on Saturday (10 pm ET | TSN1 in Canada, MLS LIVE in US) before facing off with their new crosstown rivals LAFC for the first time on March 31 at StubHub Center (3 pm ET | FOX). Ibrahimovic is believed to be in contention for selection for the gameday roster for that Southern California showdown.