Zlatan Ibrahimovic made an immediate impact in his MLS debut on Saturday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench and scored twice to help LA Galaxy to a 4-3 win over new local rivals LAFC at StubHub Center on Saturday afternoon.
With the crowd chanting “We Want Zlatan!” in the second half, the former Manchester United striker entered the game in the 71st minute to a raucous welcome from the home supporters, though his new club was trailing the expansion team 3-1.
Within two minutes, Ibrahimovic played a part in controlling the ball before Chris Pontius got a goal back for the Galaxy — and then the Swedish striker took the game into his own hands.
Ibrahimovic had his new team back on level terms five minutes later, smashing in his first-ever shot in a Galaxy uniform from 38 yards away with a swerving half-volley that went over the head of the LAFC goalkeeper and into the net.
And just into stoppage time, Ibrahimovic rose highest to head home a cross from Emmanuel Boateng to complete the comeback.
“They chanted ‘We want Zlatan.’ So I gave them Zlatan,” Ibrahimovic told Fox after the game.
It was an impressive performance for a 36-year-old who only arrived in the United States on Thursday night and trained with the Galaxy for the first time on Friday.
One of the most famous players in the world, Ibrahimovic completed his move from Manchester United to Major League Soccer last week, signing a two-year deal which ESPN sources have said will pay him $3 million.
Ibrahimovic had talks with MLS about moving to the Galaxy in 2016 before ultimately joining United on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain. He has also played for AC Milan, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Ajax and Malmo, scoring more than 450 goals for club and country.
He scored 29 goals in 53 appearances for United, including two in the EFL Cup final victory against Southampton last season, but his career appeared to be in jeopardy when he tore the ACL in his right knee in the Europa League quarterfinals against Anderlecht last April.
But after a faster-than-expected recovery — “Lions don’t recover like humans,” the player said — United still signed him to another one-year contract in August.
However, United’s purchase of Romelu Lukaku earlier in the summer pushed Ibrahimovic to the sidelines, and their elimination this month from the Champions League — which Ibrahimovic never won — allowed the Galaxy to secure him before the end of United’s season, and he wasted no time putting his unique stamp on MLS.