“Los Angeles, welcome to Zlatan.”
That is, of course, how Ibrahimovic announced himself upon moving to the West Coast in March 2018 to join the Galaxy. He then went and scored a 40-yard screamer on his MLS debut, which also happened to be in ‘El Trafico’, the first Los Angeles Derby,
Cut to 18 months later, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the top goal-scorer in that fixture, with eight goals and five appearances, revelling in the most grandiose of occasions.
He’s the incumbent holder of Newcomer of the Year, Goal of the Year and MLS Player ESPY. To say he's made an impact is an understatement. But of course, making an impact is what the big man is all about.
The most recent gameweek saw the Swedish striker match Carlos Ruiz’ long-standing record for Los Angeles Galaxy, with his 25th goal of the season, against Sporting Kansas City.
He had to go one better five minutes from time for 26, claiming the new standard for himself, and completing a hattrick at the Dignity Health Sports Park in a 7-2 victory over the Wizards.
This was complemented in the aftermath with a typically bombastic, self-aggrandizing statement: "I think I am the best ever to play in MLS. And that's without joking.”
When Ibrahimovic moved from Manchester United to L.A. in that first quarter of ‘18, he audaciously questioned whether the city - the second most populous in the USA - was even “big enough to handle his personality”. “If it’s not, I’ll make it bigger."
After being in Europe, winning 33 trophies, playing in the best teams in the world, playing with the best players in the world, I wanted to come to the US and play my game there. I wanted people to enjoy my game there and to win. And I chose the Galaxy to do that.
"Scoring goals is easy, you just have to be like Zlatan and it's coming.”
The 6’4” striker has now registered 26 goals from 25 appearances this MLS season, four more than in his debut season. It’s 48 in 52 at Galaxy for Ibrahimovic overall, demonstrating an insatiable thirst for extending that tally - a much-needed incentive as the play-offs move ever closer.