Zlatan Ibrahimovic has completed his move to the LA Galaxy, with the MLS club announcing the signing of the Swedish striker on Friday — in typical outspoken Zlatan fashion.
One day after Manchester United agreed to terminate his contract, the enigmatic 36-year-old — known for his larger-than-life personality and his history of zany quotes — wrote simply, “Dear Los Angeles, You’re Welcome” in a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times.
The Galaxy officially announced his signing later in the morning, ending a years-long pursuit to bring one of the world’s most famous players to the United States.
Sources told ESPN FC that Ibrahimovic signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Galaxy. The club confirmed he will be added to the squad using targeted allocation money and will not be a designated player, with the Galaxy already using the three allotted slots on forward Giovani dos Santos and midfielders Jonathan dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini.
Ibrahimovic last played for United on Dec. 26, when he aggravated a knee injury in a game against Burnley. But he recently returned to full training with United and told the Times that he’s ready to play immediately, even suggesting he could make his debut for the Galaxy at home on March 31 in the club’s first game against new local rivals LAFC.
“I am ready to go now,” Ibrahimovic told the newspaper. “First of all, I’m there to play football. I’m not there for something else. My first objective is to play football and do what I’m good at.
“I’m excited to come over and to get the experience with the Galaxy and to explore how the football is there. I want to be part of it and make it better.”
The striker joined United on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain before the 2016-17 season and has also played for AC Milan, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Ajax and Malmo, scoring more than 450 goals for club and country.
He scored 29 goals in 53 appearances for United, including two in the EFL Cup final victory against Southampton last season.
Ibrahimovic tore the ACL in his right knee in the Europa League quarterfinals against Anderlecht last April, but after a faster-than-expected recovery — “Lions don’t recover like humans,” the player said — United still signed him to another one-year contract in August.
However, United’s £90 million purchase of Romelu Lukaku earlier in the summer pushed Ibrahimovic to the sidelines, and their elimination this month from the Champions League — which Ibrahimovic never won — allowed the Galaxy to secure him now, rather than during the summer transfer window.
“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,” LA Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. “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.”
Ibrahimovic posted a farewell statement to United on Instagram on Thursday, saying: “Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history.”
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