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Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins the LA Galaxy

Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes to the Galaxy from Manchester United, where he played for two seasons. He made 53 appearances with the club, scoring 29 goals.

Reported by: AP , London [ Published on: March 23, 2018 22:30 IST ]
Zlatan IbrahimovicPhoto:@_BRITTJO/TWITTER

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joined the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy announced the move on Friday morning with a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times. On Twitter, Ibrahimovic appeared in a short video with a lion.

The 36-year-old forward comes to the Galaxy from Manchester United, where he played for two seasons. He made 53 appearances with the club, scoring 29 goals.

"Coming to play in the United States, it is only fitting for me to join the most successful team in Major League Soccer, the LA Galaxy," Ibrahimovic said in a statement released by the team.

"I am excited to join a club with a winning legacy that has embodied soccer in Los Angeles for over 20 years.

A person with knowledge of the deal said Ibrahimovic's contract with Major League Soccer runs through 2019. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity on Thursday because the deal had not yet been announced. The Galaxy did not release the terms.

The 36-year-old forward is Sweden's career scoring leader with 62 goals in 116 appearances and is the first player to make Champions League appearances for seven teams.

He left Paris Saint-Germain for Manchester United ahead of the 2016-17 season but since injuring his right knee on April 20 has made just two starts and five substitute appearances, scoring his only goal Dec. 20 against Bristol City in the League Cup. Manager Jose Mourinho has not used him since a Premier League match against Burnley on Dec. 26.

Ibrahimovic joined the 20-time English champions on a free transfer in July 2016.

Over the course of his career, Ibrahimovic has played for some of Europe's top clubs, including Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona and Milan.

Manchester United agreed to immediately terminate Ibrahimovic's contract, which ran through June.

"Everyone at the club would like to thank Zlatan for his contribution to the team since his arrival and wishes him well for the future," the team said in a statement.

Ibrahimovic will occupy an international roster spot with the Galaxy.

"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," Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said in a statement. "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."

It had been rumored for as many as two years that Ibrahimovic was considering a move to Los Angeles.

Ibrahimovic has spent time in LA during his offseasons with PSG and Manchester United, and it seemed increasingly inevitable that he would become the next 30-something superstar to join the five-time MLS champions. The Galaxy changed the North American league's international perception when David Beckham joined the club in a groundbreaking move in 2007.

The Galaxy made a serious pitch for Ibrahimovic last year, but he elected to spend another year in Manchester .

The Galaxy slumped to the worst season in franchise history last fall, finishing last in the MLS table. But the team is showing signs of promise under Schmid, the club's veteran German-American coach, and has opened the season 1-1-0.

Ibrahimovic will share playing time up front with Ola Kamara, the Norwegian striker acquired from Columbus in January.

LA has an intriguing collection of talent to provide service for Ibrahimovic, including French winger Romain Alessandrini, who became one of MLS' best overall players last season in his Galaxy debut. Ibrahimovic must learn to play alongside Mexican forward Giovani Dos Santos, who has shown inconsistent flashes of brilliance since leaving La Liga for the Galaxy in 2015, and his younger brother, midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos.

Ibrahimovic, who has also expressed interest in an acting career, is expected to arrive in Los Angeles next week and could be available to play on March 31 against expansion LAFC.

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