‘The lion is hungry’: Zlatan Ibrahimovic announces LA Galaxy arrival in trademark style
The Swedish forward holds entertaining press conference ahead of potential Major League Soccer debut this weekend
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s attitude will never change, even if the backdrop now includes Hollywood and palm trees.
Ibrahimovic’s first news conference for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Friday was a bold declaration of intent from the 36-year-old forward.
“I’m not changing anything. I come here to win and I’m pretty sure I will win. I know I will win,” he said.
The Swede could make his MLS debut against LAFC on Saturday after going through training for the first time before his 40-minute introduction that saw him take questions in English, Swedish, Spanish and Italian.
Ibraminovic wouldn’t say if he would make his debut in the first edition of the new LA rivalry already being dubbed “El Trafico,” instead deferring to manager Sigi Schmid.
Everything else Ibraminovic had to say was pure Ibra, walking the fine line between confidence and arrogance. Comparing himself to Brad Pitt’s character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button who ages in reverse, Ibrahimovic said he still feels young. Declaring that he has come to America to win trophies, Ibrahimovic said, “The lion is hungry.
“I have more goals than players have games, so I think I know what I’m doing,” Ibrahimovic said. “Let’s continue to do it, but with Galaxy. It’s the same me but different club.”
Ibrahimovic joins the Galaxy having played in five games this season for Manchester United after sustaining a serious knee injury in a Europa League match in April 2017. It was the first major injury of Ibrahimovic’s career, but he dismissed any concerns it would hinder his effectiveness in a new league.
Instead, Ibrahimovic likened doubts about his knee to the questions about his age before arriving in the Premier League in 2016.
“They said I was old in the Premier League, the most biggest-paced competition in the world,” Irbrahimovic said. “When I was there I felt it. I did it and I took over, so after three months the haters became my fans, all the people that was criticising. And it didn’t become as fun as it was when I started in the beginning when I come.
“Where many players would be comfortable and they will choose something that is more easier or more comfortable, I will not. I will take the hardest thing that there is out there.”
Ibrahimovic admitted he was set to join the Galaxy before signing with Manchester United, where he scored 17 goals in 28 games as the Red Devils won the Europa League and League Cup that season. Seeing himself as a difference-maker for the popularity of MLS in the same mold as David Beckham, Ibrahimovic said the Galaxy have as much to offer him as he does to his new club.
“This thing was supposed to happen a couple off years before, but it didn’t,” Ibrahimovic said. “But I’m here now, so it was supposed to happen. The question was only when.”
The only other topic on which Ibrahimovic refused to take a stance was whether he would be joining Sweden in this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Ibrahimovic retired from international competition after Euro 2016 in France as the top scorer in national team history with 62 goals in 116 games, but Sweden’s surprise qualification raised the prospect that he would return.
Ibrahimovic’s focus is on the Galaxy, but he said, “There is nobody who needs to call nobody. If I want, I’m there.”
With a touch of Hollywood flair, Ibrahimovic added, “Let’s keep them on their toes.”