Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s former LA Galaxy team-mate Joao Pedro remembers the star’s stay in MLS as a turbulent time marked by frequent boasting and the odd light-hearted death threat.
The former Barcelona, PSG, Inter and Manchester United star spent two seasons stateside after leaving Old Trafford at the start of 2018.
Goals flowed for Ibrahimovic, who hit an incredible 52 in just 56 matches in the league, but results overall were disappointing as the Galaxy failed to progress past the Western Conference semis during his time at the club.
He is now back in Europe with AC Milan after agreeing a move in January, but memories of his stay will linger long in Los Angeles, as Joao Pedro can attest.
«We had an away clash against Houston Dynamo,» the midfielder, who is currently back in his native Portugal with Tondela on loan from the Galaxy, told Record.
«We went 1-0 up, they came back, we levelled at 2-2, in the last few minutes they scored to make it 3-2. At the end of the game [Zlatan] gave us a roasting.
«[He said] ‘Look, if you came here to go to the beach, walk around Hollywood, just say, but tell me now. I have 300 million in the bank, an island, I don’t need this at all.
«‘The first person to open their mouth I will kill him, I will really kill him.'»
Ibrahimovic’s elevated self-esteem is no secret in the world of football.
«I think I am the best ever to play in MLS. And that, without joking,» he pronounced in September after breaking the Galaxy’s season scoring record.
«I’m here to perform and show everybody what the game is about. I think the two years I’ve had here, I’ve done good things. Amazing things. Perfect things.»
And Joao Pedro recalls that even in training he always wanted to be the centre of attention.
«We were about to play a kickabout match, 11 against 11, and someone asked, ‘Who is kicking off?’ Our assistant said: ‘Joao Pedro, because it is his birthday today,'» he explained.
«Ibrahimovic turned to him and said: ‘Every day is my birthday. Give me the ball.’ And he laughed.»