CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said as recently as a month ago he was happy in Los Angeles and with the club, but he appeared to backtrack on that statement Friday.
The Swedish international, who has scored 17 goals in only 22 games since signing with the team in March, said “I don’t know” when he was asked if there was any situation in which he would not return to the five-time MLS Cup champions next year.
“This is not the moment to talk about that,” he said after training as the Galaxy prepared for Sunday’s important clash with Seattle at StubHub Center (4 p.m., Fox Sports 1). “It’s something I’ll discuss with the club … what they want, what I want.”
A seven-game winless streak (0-4-3) and postseason hopes which appear to be on life support could be taking a toll on the soon-to-be 37-year-old, who last weekend scored the 500th goal of his professional career in a 5-3 loss to Toronto FC.
Ibrahimovic officially is signed through the 2019 season, but there were recent rumors that indicated he might be considering a move to Egypt. But in another interview last month he was asked about a possible return to Europe, where he previously played for the likes of Juventus, FC Barcelona, and Manchester United.
“No, not at the moment,” he told reporters at the time. “All of you should enjoy it while I’m here.”
Money could be a problem, too. He is being paid a combined $3 million in his Galaxy contract — after he earned a reported $26 million last season with Manchester United – and three players earn more. They include the club’s designated players: Giovani dos Santos at $6 million, Romain Alessandrini at $1.9 million and Jonathan dos Santos at $2 million. The trio has combined for 14 goals and 14 assists this season.
“I have five games. I’m happy,” Ibrahimovic said Friday. “Physically, I feel strong. I’m producing. I just need to win games. Then everything is perfect.”
Josh Guesman contributed to this report.