CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy fans can rest easy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t planning on going anywhere.
Not that there were any current rumors swirling about the immediate future of the Swedish international, but the 36-year-old phenom was asked Wednesday if the Galaxy was the last team he’d play for and if he’d ever consider playing in a European league again. His storied career has included stops with the likes of Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United before he came to the Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic, who turns 37 in early October and has 15 goals and seven assists since joining the MLS side in March, said he feels “alive” and “fresh.” He also sounded content living and playing in Southern California, despite the fact he will make $3 million combined in the two-year contract he signed with the Galaxy. In contrast, he reportedly earned $26 million last season with English Premier League power Manchester United.
“I’m happy here, I’m very happy here,” he told reporters as the Galaxy prepared for Friday’s clash with crosstown rival Los Angeles FC at sold-out StubHub Center (7:30 p.m., ESPN). “I like my teammates, I like the club, I like the people around it. I like the city.
“I want to play football as long as I can, because after the injury the answer was I could not play again.”
There were those who thought his career might be over when he suffered significant ligament damage to his right knee during a Europa League clash in April of 2017. Ibrahimovic said he was intent on proving his doubters wrong.
“When you have something you’re doing and that you love to do,” he said, “a dream come true playing football – and I did it for 20 years – and people say to you ‘you’re not able to play anymore,’ then you work your way back and you come back to that moment where you were before, you’re playing football. I just love what I do and I just want to do it as long as I can.
“Then obviously the physical part, the conditioning. If it’s not answering, then it’s time to say I did my job and I stop. But I’m not there yet.
“I feel good,” he continued with a smile. “I feel like an animal.”
And about returning to play in Europe?
“No, not at the moment,” he answered. “I’m happy here. I want to help the club, I want to help the people around it, I want to help my teammates win. I’m here for the moment.
“All of you should enjoy it while I’m here,” he added with a grin.