The LA Galaxy star wants the rest of his team to come up to his level and doesn’t believe his current league is any match for Europe’s best
Zlatan Ibrahimovic always has plenty to say.
The LA Galaxy forward has certainly made his mark on the United States, both as a player in MLS and as a personality off the pitch.
With 13 goals and three assists across 16 matches played this season, the lucrative new designated player contract the big Swede signed in the offseason is paying off for the club.
The Galaxy sit third in the Western Conference, though the gap to the team on top of the standings, cross-town rival LAFC, is a massive 12 points through 20 games.
Those two sides will meet on Friday in a derby match that has the look of a must-win for the Galaxy if they want to climb back into the race for top seeding in the playoff picture.
While that game will be the focus on the pitch for the league this weekend, Ibrahimovic made sure his words would catch plenty of headlines ahead of El Trafico.
In an interview the 37-year-old made clear once again the gap he feels there is between himself and all those around him in MLS.
“MLS is not the level of Europe, to be honest,” he said. “Before, I played with players either on my level or close to it. Which makes the game connect easier.
“Here, I am like a Ferrari among Fiats. And it can happen that the Ferrari can become the Fiat, or the Fiat can become the Ferrari.
“I had the same issue with the national [Swedish] team, though not as much. I said, ‘I don’t accept it. I don’t accept when the ball doesn’t arrive, or arrives too late. I want them to come up to my level.’ All of this makes me slow down a bit. The game here [in America] could be so much faster, so much more tactical, so much more rhythmic.”
Ibrahimovic is clearly among the top players in the league, but Friday’s showdown will see him face off against another player who has taken the league by storm over the last two years in LAFC’s Carlos Vela.
Vela is on pace for a record-setting year. He leads the league with 19 goals and is tied for the lead in assists with 12. His club is also top of the table, thanks in large part to the Mexican star.
Vela is the front-runner for the MLS MVP award this season, and Ibrahimovic is one of the few in a position to run him down in the scoring race.
But the Galaxy star isn’t worried about the Golden Boot chase, as long as he’s helping his side find results.
“If the team goes good, you do good as individuals, but I’m not focusing on [the Golden Boot chase],” he said to the league website. “As long as I can help my team in the best way, I will try to score the goals to help the team.
“That’s part of my responsibilities, part of my job. I’m trying, but a race against him? That is not important.”