Ibrahimovic labels himself greatest MLS player and hints at United States return

·3-min read

Zlatan Ibrahimovic labelled himself the best player in MLS history as he hinted at a potential return to the United States.

The Sweden international swapped Manchester United for LA Galaxy in 2018, announcing his arrival with a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times stating: "Dear Los Angeles, you're welcome".

Ibrahimovic subsequently delivered a scintillating Galaxy debut against neighbours Los Angeles FC, scoring a stoppage-time winner after a 45-yard half-volley which won him the MLS Goal of the Season award.

The former Inter, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain talisman was unable to guide the Galaxy to the playoffs in his first term, but was still awarded the MLS Newcomer of the Year trophy for his maiden campaign.

Ibrahimovic went one better the following season, helping his side to the Western Conference playoff semi-finals as he broke the club record for most goals in a single regular season (26).

The 40-year-old called time on his first MLS stint with an impressive 53 goals in 58 games when he returned to current club Milan, and he believes he is the greatest player to ever feature in the competition.

"I'm very happy. I'm very thankful for MLS because they gave me the chance to feel alive," he told ESPN's Gab & Juls Show.

"But the problem was I was still too alive. I was too good for the whole competition. That is what I showed. I'm the best ever to play in MLS, and that is not me having an ego or trying to show off now. That is true.

"And when I was there, I enjoyed [it]. I had a good time. And I liked the way they were working, the way they were doing the marketing stuff.

"I think [playing in MLS] was the best way for me to come back after my injury. I was in the best condition ever. And I'm very proud I played in MLS, because they were saying to me the stadiums are pretty empty when you play in that [competition].

"[But] there were no empty stadiums when I was playing. It was even overbooked, so I cannot complain, and I'm very happy I was there."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 2019 MLS regular season record
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 2019 MLS regular season record

Ibrahimovic has endured an injury-hit season with Milan this campaign, but will still be hoping to help Stefano Pioli's side to their first Scudetto since 2010-11 as the Rossoneri sit two points clear at the Serie A summit.

However, the evergreen Ibrahimovic refused to rule out a potential move back to MLS, and even hinted at following in David Beckham's footsteps by founding his own franchise.

"You never know – maybe one day I'll come back," he said. "To show them how, to give them a reminder what real football is.

"So [maybe] it's for two years. They get to see what real football is, and I think they will never see something like that before. Maybe I'll come back and have my own club – you never know."

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