“I came, I saw, I conquered. Thank you LA Galaxy for making me feel alive again. To the Galaxy fans – you wanted Zlatan, I gave you Zlatan. You are welcome. The story continues…Now go back to watch baseball.”
That was Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s message to LA Galaxy fans as he announced his departure from the club. There’s just so much wrong with that statement.
I came, I saw, I conquered. Thank you @lagalaxy for making me feel alive again. To the Galaxy fans – you wanted Zlatan, I gave you Zlatan. You are welcome. The story continues…Now go back to watch baseball pic.twitter.com/kkL6B6dJBr
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) November 13, 2019
Firstly, let’s get the obvious part out of the way. Zlatan Ibrahimović did not conquer the MLS.
Yes, he did remarkably well to fire the Galaxy to the playoffs, but there were far better teams and even better players (Carlos Vela).
LA Galaxy crashed out of the playoffs against fierce rivals LAFC, in what was the most important game of their season so far. He may have scored a lot, but Zlatan did not ‘conquer’ MLS. Hell, he didn’t even ‘conquer’ Los Angeles.
The Zlatan strategy is all too predictable now. Go somewhere new for a lot of money. Perform pretty well but not actually win anything of note. Insult everyone and make sure they know they are not good enough to lace Zlatan’s boots. Claim to be the saviour of the universe. Repeat process for the engagement.
Yes he was one of the league’s top performers but still didn’t win anything.
It’s like when he claimed to conquer England with Manchester United – having managed to win the Carabao Cup and Europa League.
When he was fit and firing, Ibrahimovic led United to the dizzying heights of sixth in the Premier League. Without him the following season, they finished second. The Red Devils clearly didn’t miss him so much.
Yet that didn’t stop Ibrahimovic from talking. Tongue in cheek as many of his droll remarks may be, he needed the spotlight for himself back then, and he has made sure he commands it again now, even at the detriment of MLS itself.
The nomadic Swede has publicly criticized the league with alarming regularity. Did he do it it just ‘for the LOLs’? Or maybe because he didn’t feel like respecting the organisation which gave him a chance to save his career?
Without LA Galaxy he’s just a has-been using brand ambassadorships to keep himself relevant.
My city! My game! My rules! pic.twitter.com/g3F9PNTuEV
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) August 26, 2019
MLS are still trying to prove their worth to fans around the world. There are large parts of Europe who do not feel as though the league is worth watching, and Ibrahimovic’s constant criticisms won’t have helped that.
‘Oh, but he’s funny!’ is not good enough of an excuse anymore. It used to be funny, then it got weird and now it’s just downright boring.
He’s no longer seen as a footballer. Instead, Ibrahimovic is a character, a meme – and not even a particularly funny one.
My favourite team of all time. I only have to decide the coach. Maybe will be Zlatan pic.twitter.com/MvRN5krxPc
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) July 8, 2019
As a prolific goalscorer, there will always be interest in Ibrahimovic. As per Transfermarkt, he fired 31 goals in as many games last season, and he could probably still do a decent job in a major European league.
That’s why many sides in the Serie A are linked with the big Swede and want to take him back.
However, maybe they should think twice. He might score goals, but at what cost?