The LA Galaxy have come to an agreement with forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the 2019 season as a Designated Player, the club announced Tuesday. Ibrahimovic was named team MVP and led the LA Galaxy in goals for the 2018 season, with 22 goals and 10 assists in 27 appearances with the club. He also won MLS Goal of the Year and MLS Newcomer of the Year honors, included in the league’s Best XI and was nominated for MLS MVP.
“We are very pleased to sign Zlatan to a new contract that will see him return for the 2019 season,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese in the club’s release. “He showed his value last season and we look forward to him representing our club next year. With Zlatan returning, we will continue to improve our team in advance of the season.”
MLZ Im not done with you yet pic.twitter.com/1F68siOV16
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) December 17, 2018
Both Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy teased the announcement Monday via social media, with a clip of Ibrahimovic standing in the LA Galaxy locker room and audio of his rumored departure playing in the background.
“There was a lot of talks, a lot of rumors, a lot of whispers around, but, actually, I never left. I stayed here and, like I said, I’m not finished yet with MLS,” Ibrahimovic said in the statement. “I started good, I did good, but I’m still not satisfied for the outcome. I have things still to do, and I see my first year as warming up. The second year will be different. It will be a big difference because now I know the league, I know my opponents more… The first year was a warming up, the second year I come to finish it.”
For the 2018 season, Ibrahimovic’s contract was bought down using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), since the team’s three Designated Player spots were already filled by Romain Alessandrini and brothers Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos. With this move, it is essentially guaranteed that one of the three Designated Players will be on the move ahead of the 2019 season.