Zlatan Ibrahimovic - LA Galaxy - training - serious
Courtesy of LA Galaxy

Ibrahimovic "ready to play" for Galaxy, but not sure for how long Saturday

CARSON, Calif. -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he's ready to go and wants to play in the LA Galaxy's inaugural meeting with crosstown rival LAFC, and Sigi Schmid will do what he can to make that happen.

The Swedish striker was officially introduced by the Galaxy on Friday afternoon, a couple of hours after completing his first training session with the team, and he said in a StubHub Center news conference that he's available for selection and ready to go the full 90 in Saturday afternoon's game (3 pm ET | FOX) if needed.

“I have so much adrenaline in me, I think it can hold a long time,” Ibrahimovic said. “But the [fitness] condition, I don't know if it holds as long as the adrenaline. Let's see. We start step by step. I know I'm not here only for one game, I'm here for this season, and we have another season.

“I think the coach wants to build it up and make me comfortable, settle in, get to know the way things are normally [done here]. But if the coach needs me for the whole game, I'm there the whole game. If he needs me for one minute, I'm there for one minute.”

Schmid said Ibrahimovic, 36, would “definitely” be in the 18-man game roster but would not be in his starting XI.

“There's no plan, like, OK, he's going to come in this minute or that minute ...,” Schmid said. “We'll see how the game goes, and we'll make a determination,” Schmid said. “We want to make a smart determination, not just make a determination for the fans on a given day, but also one that helps us and doesn't put him into jeopardy, in terms of an injury."

Ibrahimovic played in just seven games for Manchester United after returning in November from a major knee injury suffered last April. He made his last appearance on Dec. 26 and then “took a step back,” he said, “because I didn't feel 100 percent. I didn't feel ready.”

He said he's been training hard since then, was ready to go “whenever [Manchester United manager Jose] Mourinho needed me,” and says he's healthy. He just needs to build his fitness base and find his game rhythm.

Schmid said Ibrahimovic, once ready to play fully, will partner Norwegian striker Ola Kamara in LA's attack.

“Kamara has his spot on the team, and we'll find a spot for Zlatan, as well,” the Galaxy head coach said. “They're going to be a combination. I don't think it's going to be a situation where one's going to compete against the other. The more goals Kamara scores, the more space he creates for Zlatan. And Zlatan being on the field creates space for Kamara, because he draws the attention of the defense. I think they can be a very complementary pair. ...

“How we put that into the system, and what system we play, that's something we'll work on as we move forward.”

Ibrahimovic hopes they can begin work on the partnership Saturday, but if that doesn't happen, he's OK with that, too.

“I'm here, I'm ready, I want to play ...,” he said. “I feel like a child that you give candy for the first time, and goes around chasing for the candy. That is me chasing the ball now.

“I respect every decision, and the coach is the boss. If he needs me, I'm here. If you don't need me, I'm still here. So that's the situation, basically.”