CARSON, Calif. – Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be returning to MLS in 2020. A cryptic tweet earlier this week shortly followed by a press release from the LA Galaxy announced that the two parties would be separating next year. Zlatan leaves LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer having thrilled but not full-filled expectations and hopes.
Zlatan Leaves LA Galaxy: Thrilling yet Unfulfilling
Ibrahimovic scored 52 goals in 56 appearances for the Galaxy. He nearly won the Golden Boot this year and finished second in voting for MVP. While he had plenty of individual success and went viral with several spectacular goals, he didn’t win anything as an individual.
What’s more, the Galaxy didn’t win anything of significance in these two years Ibrahimovic spent in MLS. They collapsed on the final day of the season in 2018 to miss the playoffs and then had a rather underwhelming playoff appearance this year.
They won a gutsy, though lackluster, match at Minnesota United FC in the first round of the playoffs. That set them up for the first every playoff El Trafico with Los Angeles FC. The Galaxy lost that game, ending their season, Zlatan’s time with the club, and giving LAFC their first every win over their rivals.
It’s ironic that Ibrahimovic’s goodbye tweet featured “I conquered” and artwork of Zlatan standing on a hill overlooking downtown LA and Banc of California Stadium, the home of LAFC. He didn’t win any individual awards. He didn’t win an MLS Cup, the standard set by the Galaxy and the promise he made/envisioned on several occasions.
He showed up, balled out and scored a bunch of goals in a league with far weaker defenses than he’s used to. He made his brand look good with his goals and fire quote press conferences. He criticized the league, his teammates, and Commissioner Don Garber. He started fires in the media, not all of them good or productive.
His soon-to-be former club is now moving forward with an open DP slot and some rumored players who will be more healthy additions. What’s more, they’re moving on to find players who better fit the system and culture that ultimately will help them compete for trophies.
Zlatan leaves the LA Galaxy having thrilled without leading to any substantive triumphs, outside of five results in El Trafico.