The larger than life Zlatan Ibrahimovic took to Twitter to announce his departure from LA Galaxy and the MLS. On Wednesday, the former Galaxy forward thanked the Los Angeles franchise for making him “feel alive again.” He also addressed fans of the LA-based team and implied that they should be thankful for his two-year stint with the Galaxy. The talented forward ended his tweet with an odd directive as he instructed his followers to “go back to watch baseball.”
There are few personalities in MLS who can pull off such a vainglorious announcement. Perhaps, someone should remind Zlatan that he failed to conquer anything in a tournament where the pastime of most fans is watching baseball. Sure, he was able to put together scintillating goals for the LA Galaxy but the prized forward was unable to lift his team to greater heights.
His exodus may have an impact on the MLS but it gives the Galaxy a solid opportunity to rebuild.
There’s no doubt that Zlatan is a gifted scorer. The talented forward scored a mindblowing 52 goals in 56 matches for the LA franchise. He was also selected as MLS Best XI in his two years in the league. He was also an MVP candidate in 2019.
Zlatan brings an undeniable performance that attracts thousands of fans.
Unfortunately, he is no longer the type of player who could take a franchise all the way to an MLS title. If he were that player, he could have done it over the last two seasons. However, he squandered his chances.
In 2018, the LA Galaxy had a golden opportunity to enter the playoff picture. The club was up 2-0 against the already eliminated Houston Dynamo. But the Dynamo played the role of the spoiler as the team scored three second half goals to rob the Galaxy of a playoff berth.
Championship players know how to close out games. To LA Galaxy fans, this was a preview that Zlatan is now more of a showman than a true competitor.
In 2019, the LA Galaxy were eliminated by their crosstown rival, the Los Angeles Football Club. Zlatan was overshadowed by a younger Carlos Vela who scored the first two goals of the match and assisted on the third.
Throughout his storied career, Zlatan has put together at least ten league titles in six countries but has never won the Champions League. Now that he’s 38 and way past his prime, it appears that he’s no longer capable of winning it all even at a national level.
While Zlantan sold tickets, the LA Galaxy know they won’twin a title with him as their key player. The star forward commanded an MLS record $7.5 million in 2019 . That’s a lot of money to pay an aging star.
With Ibrahimovic out of the picture, the franchise can put their attention on building squad depth. The front office is also tasked with the challenge of filling the void left by the outlandish forward. It’s a big hole to fill but Zlatan’s departure puts the franchise in the right direction. After all, it’s very unlikely that they’ll win a title by paying top dollar to a declining star.
According to a Forbes report, no team with a player 34 or older being the highest earner has won the title since the Beckham-led LA Galaxy in 2012. The last two seasons were proof that Zlatan can no longer turn back the hands of time. He came, he saw, but he definitely did not conquer.