Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy crashed out of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs after losing a 5-3 thriller to local rivals LAFC in an El Trafico that more than lived up to the hype. Even in defeat, Ibrahimovic, who bagged 30 goals in the regular season, made his mark with a goal and a sublime assist.
But in the week since, there is one question that has been asked repeatedly: Will he stay or will he go?
Speaking after Thursday's game, Ibrahimovic, whose contract expires at the end of the year, didn't reveal where his future lies. But he did add that it's not about the money. So, what is it about? Well, here are 10 things that just might persuade the Swedish superstar to stay right where he is.
1. Scoring a goal a game is fun
Fifty-three games started. Fifty-two goals.
Have you ever been watching a really dramatic TV show and at some point you realize you just want to check your phone’s tiny screen instead of paying attention to the slightly bigger screen you’ve had "Succession" playing on for the last four hours, so at that point you put on a "Parks and Rec" episode you’ve seen 10 times that you can keep in the background? It feels kind of safe and you can look up and really focus when you want to. Well, this is kind of like that except the "Parks and Rec" episode where Ben and Leslie get together is Zlatan just casually putting up a hat-trick on a Sunday night in July.
Just like he did in Ligue 1 and for spells in Serie A, Zlatan is scoring a goal per 90. He has the number of MLS defenses across the land. That's a pretty comforting thought, right?
2. Leaving empty-handed is not fun
Zlatan, you’ve won a trophy everywhere else. Seriously. Every single club since you left Malmo in 2001. It would be a shame to break that. Unless you count "MLS player with the most content generated." I’m unsure how that compares to winning La Liga but I’m thinking ... pretty close? Speaking of generating content...
3. What else are we going to write abou- Holy smokes you’ve literally already said this
“There are no other thoughts, I respect my contract. If I leave, you will have less to write about.”
Ok, well at least we know where we stand here.
There's real earnings potential here. A transition into movie stardom is steps away at any time. Just think: Zlatan, you could start off your career using your martial arts abilities to do action movies. Then, once you got bored of that, you could learn to frown like Eddie Redmayne and aim for an Oscar-worthy dramatic turn. And once that didn’t work, you could do fun-buddy comedies with Kevin James where you have to teach him how to race cars to win money for an orphanage called “Need for Swede.” This is a terrible idea. Please, please do not do this.
5. You promised
You said at the beginning of the year that you would break every MLS record. Well, I’m looking around and it doesn’t seem like you’ve broken any of those. Wow. Crazy. It would be strange to promise something and not follow through. Definitely not accusing you of anything Big Z, but I’m just saying we follow through with our promises where I’m from. It’s the standard any self-respecting person should hold themselves to. If you want to talk about this the old-fashioned way, all you need to know is @MattDoyle76 on Twitter. Matt Doyle.
6. LAFC: Not going anywhere
Superheroes need villains, and it goes both ways. Have you ever been as loathed and respected by one fanbase in your career? Another year torturing Bob Bradley and his players has to be pretty appetizing.
7. People, like, really like you
You’ve led the league in jersey sales the last two years. Why go compete for that kind of clout elsewhere? It’d be like leaving the Monopoly game where you own every single space to go give Joao Felix the Atlantic and Ventnor Avenue spaces. Why let others into the market? I promise this reference makes sense.