Zlatan Ibrahimovic says return to Galaxy isn’t a sure thing

Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic tries to get the ball inside against LAFC defender Walker Zimmerman.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, frustrated by a seven-game winless streak that has the team’s playoff hopes on life support, won’t commit to returning next season.

“I don’t know. This I have to discuss,” he said after training on Friday. “This is not the moment to talk about that. It’s something I’ll discuss with the club. What they want, what I want. So let’s see.”

The Galaxy, through a spokesperson, declined comment.

It’s possible Ibrahimovic, who is signed through next season, raised the doubts about his future as part of an effort to angle for a raise. He tops the Western Conference with 17 goals and leads the team with eight assists, but his contract will pay him just $1.5 million this year, according to figures released by the MLS players union.

Three teammates will make more this season.

But it’s also clear Ibrahimovic, who will turn 37 next month and hasn’t played for a losing side since he left Sweden as a teenager, is unhappy with his team’s performance. The Galaxy haven’t won since July and are in danger of missing the playoffs for just the fifth time in franchise history.

The Galaxy (10-11-8), six points out of the conference’s final playoff spot with five games left, face Seattle, the team sitting in that final playoff spot, Sunday at StubHub Center.


“It’s a different challenge,” said Ibrahimovic, who last week became the third active player to score his 500th goal for club and country. “The team I played for [before], I had that feeling like we were unbeatable. Nobody can destroy us. We will destroy everybody.

“And now it’s like you come to a game, it feels like 50-50. Anything can happen.”

Ibrahimovic joined the Galaxy from England’s Manchester United in March, less than a year after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right knee. In his MLS debut, he came off the bench to score the tying and winning goals against the cross-town rival Los Angeles Football Club

“I have five games,” he said when asked about his future. “I’m happy. Physically I feel strong, I feel good. I’m producing.

“So I just need to win games and then everything is perfect.” | Twitter: @kbaxter11