Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced that his departure from Manchester United is imminent as he is to seek a new chapter in his career in Major League Soccer, with the LA Galaxy.
Great things also come to an end and it is time to move on after two fantastic seasons with Manchester United. Thank you to the club, the fans, the team, the coach, the staff and everybody who shared with me this part of my history. #foreverred pic.twitter.com/vo1Gs3SUHL
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 22, 2018
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 22, 2018
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Headed for MLS LA Galaxy
Ibrahimović left Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2016 as he made his move to Old Trafford on a free transfer. The Swede endured a turbulent spell during his 18 months at Old Trafford but can look back on his time with some fondness having secured his only European Cup triumph to date, winning the Europa League against one of his former sides in Ajax. The charismatic Swede also bagged two goals in the Carabao Cup final as United conquered Southampton 3-2 at Wembley. Despite scoring 17 goals in 28 Premier League appearances, Ibrahimović could only help United to a disappointing sixth-place finish, somewhat commiserated by their two cup triumphs.
While the 36-year-old looks set to move to America to join a host of household names in the MLS, lets take a look back at the Swede’s illustrious career thus far.
Malmo FF- 1999-2001
Ibrahimović signed his first contract with his hometown club in 1996 before being promoted to the senior side in 1999. A tally of 16 league goals in 40 appearances sparked interest from some of Europe’s top clubs. However, Zlatan famously turned down Arsene Wenger’s offer of a trial at Arsenal, claiming that “Zlatan does not do auditions”.
Ajax secured Ibrahimović’s signature in an €8.7 million move while he helped the Amsterdam side to capture the Eredivisie title in the 2001-02 season under the management of Ronald Koeman. Ibrahimović scored a brace on his Champions League debut in the 2002-03 season in a 2-1 victory over Lyon and added three more goals to his tally in the competition as the Dutch side were eliminated by AC Milan in the quarter-finals.
Honours: Eredivisie: 2001-02, 2003-04
Ibrahimović’s 16 goals in his first season for the Old Lady were recognized as he was awarded the ‘Guldbollen’, awarded to the best Swedish footballer of the year as Juventus captured the Serie A title. However, his spell at Juventus would be marred by controversy as the Turin club were exposed for bribing match officials in the Calciopoli scandal. This saw their last two Scudettis stripped from them and they were relegated to Serie B. A mass exodus of some of Juve’s top talent followed, including Ibrahimović, as the Italian giants were left at the lowest point in the club’s history.
Inter Milan- 2006-2009
Following the Calciopoli scandal, Ibrahimović moved to Inter Milan for €24.8 million. Inter enjoyed a historic 2006-07 season as they broke the points record with 97 on their way to winning the Scudetto, with top scorer Ibrahimović bagging 15 goals. Inter recorded a successive league title in the 2007-08 season as Zlatan scored 17 goals in 26 league matches and was named as Serie A Footballer of the Year. In his third and final season at Inter, he enjoyed the best goal=scoring form of his career so far. The Swede recorded 25 Serie A goals as Inter won their third successive Scudetto and Ibrahimović was named as Serie A Footballer of the Year for a second consecutive season.
Honours: Serie A: 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09
Supercoppa Italiana: 2006, 2008
Ibrahimovic joined Spanish giants Barcelona in the summer of 2009 in a deal which saw Samuel Eto’o join Inter plus a fee of £59 million being paid to the Italian club. Playing in Pep Guardiola’s memorable Barcelona side full of flourishing attacking talent including Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta, and Thierry Henry would prove to be a challenge.
Despite winning the La Liga title in his first season, Barcelona was eliminated by Ibrahimović’s former club Inter Milan in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Ibrahimović struggled during his time in Spain and subsequently criticised Guardiola, “you bought a Ferrari, but you drive it like a Fiat.”
Honours: La Liga- 2009-10
Supercopa de Espana: 2009, 2010
UEFA Super Cup: 2009
FIFA Club World Cup: 2009
AC Milan- 2010-11 (loan), 2011-12 (permanent)
After a frustrating season at Barcelona, Ibrahimović opted to return to Italy for a third stint, however this time at AC Milan. His first season would bring more domestic success for the striker as he captured his fourth Scudetto and his first with Milan. The Rossoneri opted to use the option to buy Ibrahimović after his loan spell for €24 million. Milan was unable to secure a second consecutive Scudetto despite Ibrahimović scoring 28 Serie A goals in 32 matches. Despite his domestic success at Milan, the Swede would have to watch on with envy as Guardiola’s side won the Champions League in the 2010-11 season, a competition that would continue to allude Ibrahimović throughout his career.
Honours: Serie A: 2010-11
Supercoppa Italiana: 2011
Paris Saint-Germain- 2012-2016
Ibrahimović opted to join the revolution in Paris after PSG’s newly found riches allowed them to splash €20 million on the Swedish talisman. His time in France will be remembered fondly with a huge amount of domestic success which saw PSG win the Ligue 1 title in all four of Ibrahimović’s seasons at the club, as well as winning the Coupe de France in 2015 and 2016, and the Coupe de la Ligue in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Ibrahimović can boast an incredible goal-scoring record during his four-year stay at PSG having notched 113 Ligue goals in 122 appearances, including an astonishing 38 goal return from 31 appearances during his final season at the Parc des Princes.
Ligue 1: 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16
Coupe de France 2015, 2016
Coupe de la Ligue: 2014, 2015, 2016
Manchester United Honours:
EFL Cup: 2017
UEFA Europa League: 2016-17
FA Community Shield: 2016