Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Los Angeles Lion

Zlatan Ibrahimovic seduced LA Galaxy supporters with his bewitching set of skills during his iconic debut against local rivals Los Angeles FC last weekend.

The visitors streamed into a three-goal lead on 48 minutes and LA Galaxy looked dead and buried as Ibrahimovic watched longingly on from the bench. His arrival with the clock ticking increasingly closer towards full-time was welcomed by a rapturous applause from the home supporters, and he immediately forced them to their feet once again with just one of a full list of magical moments of brilliance.

LA Galaxy had reduced the deficit to two goals before Ibrahimovic’s introduction, but his surging run down the left channel created an opening for Chris Pontius to send his header into the roof of the net and hurl LA Galaxy back into contention.

This provided “Ibra” – as he’s more simply known – to announce himself onto the scene in Major League Soccer. Six minutes of the ‘Ibra’ show had passed, and the ball was launched aimlessly into the hosts’ attacking half. Ibrahimovic spotted the Los Angeles FC goalkeeper Tyler Miller hovering off his goal-line, and punished him severely with a stupendous 45-yard lob that sent the StubHub Center into pure ecstasy.

The magic show had only just begun and Ibrahimovic added a decisive winning header in the first-minute of second half stoppage time to seal all three points for LA Galaxy. Ibrahimovic had the press eating out of his hands in the post-match press conference, as the American journalists watched in awe of the new star set to take Major League Soccer by storm.

Ibrahimovic has now scored debut goals for Malmo, Juventus, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. Despite reaching the ripe old age of 36-years-old, he still believes that he’s capable of competing at the highest level, and his performances of present are suggesting that his interpretation is true.

The Swedish showman re-joined Manchester United during the summer transfer window, after being released at the end of his debut season. Ibrahimovic was an idolised figure at Old Trafford too, and bagged 28 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions to help guide The Red Devils to both the EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League, but a catastrophic knee injury ultimately signalled the end of his connection with Manchester United.

He briefly returned to action during the 2017/18 campaign, but scored just once in seven appearances in all competitions. Mourinho seemed reluctant to include Ibrahimovic in his plans, which was incredibly naive and foolish in retrospect, but he’s once again flourishing at a new club and dominating the headlines in truly typical ‘Zlatan’ fashion!

A large percentage of football followers may argue that he’s taken a step down from the Premier League, which is true, but many European legends have failed to impress in the United States. Steven Gerrard, Lothar Matthaus and Freddie Ljungberg all struggled to adapt to life in MLS soccer, which suggests it’s a far less easy task to succeed in America than most people expect.

The 36-year-old has amassed a bewildering tally of 485 goals in 847 appearances for club and country in all competitions over his iconic 19-year playing career. He’s also accumulated 31 major club honours at six separate clubs, including domestic league titles in Holland, Italy, Spain and France. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unarguably one of the most distinguished players in football history, but I truly believe ‘the lion’ is far from finished!

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