(WFI) Zlatan Ibrahimovic knows that there is no place in the world where the stars shine brighter than Los Angeles.
So when the Swede was cut from Manchester United and had to decide at 36 years of age where to prolong his almost two-decade long professional career, the choice of Southern California and the MLS seemed obvious.
After all, David Beckham already tried it with the L.A. Galaxy more than 10 years ago and even though his contribution on the field was more than questionable, Becks managed to elevate his popularity in the North American market to a new level. And yes, the league benefited as well.
Now it is Zlatan’s turn. Provided the recently reconstructed ACL on his right knee cooperates, the contribution of the Swede superstar to the Galaxy and the league could be huge. After all Ibrahimovic ensures the goal-scoring ability that Beckham never had and above all will provide a spectacle on and off the field. He has more than 60 million followers on his social media accounts and his arrogant demeanor and antics (he once compared himself to God) are just right for the type of spotlight the MLS welcomes with open arms.
The Swedish superstar arrives to America having won 13 league titles in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and France and averaged more than a goal every two games. But he is not crossing the Atlantic Ocean in search of money.
Last season, his first at Manchester United, Ibrahimovic earned a reported $26 million. The Galaxy will pay him $1.5 million for each of the two seasons of his contract, a deal that will be funded largely through special allocation funds provided by the MLS.
Only 24 hours after signing with his new club, Ibrahimovic made his presence felt in a big way in California. He placed a huge full page advertisement in Friday’s edition of the LA Times to announce his arrival at the Galaxy. His message was simple: “Dear Los Angeles, You’re welcome.” He then signed the advert.
The spotlight is already on him. That is the way it works with the stars in California as his MLS debut could come in the Galaxy’s next home game, March 31, against the cross-town rival Los Angeles Football Club.
By INSIDER Javier Monne
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