Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on a two-year, $3 million deal with the LA Galaxy, but he could have earned a lot more playing in China.
New Los Angeles Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed exactly why he turned down a $100m contract to play in the Chinese Super League, instead leaving as much as $97m on the table to accept a Major League Soccer deal worth just $3m over two years.
For Ibrahimovic, who recently overcame a serious knee injury to resume his career, the money is actually irrelevant because he believes that it is impossible to put a price on his happiness.
"This is a big challenge for me. I want to come over here to the U.S. and show everybody what I'm able to do," the ex-Manchester United forward said during an appearance on ESPN's SportsCenter following a brace on his Galaxy debut last weekend.
"It's not about the money because I didn't even know the contract I had here. I just said 'prepare, I'm coming'. I think even the Galaxy was surprised," he added.
"After my injury, I just want to be happy, push it every time I put on football boots, smell the grass, touch the ball, and do what I've been doing for the last 20 years. Trust me, that has no price."
Ibrahimovic has won 20 major honors during a storied career to date after spells with Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. His desire to in North America remains the same, with Galaxy already the most successful franchise in MLS history with five MLS Cups and four Supporters' Shields.
"I came to win, I want to bring trophies to Galaxy and I want to be part of the history, one of the guys that made a difference. I've played with the best clubs and players in the world, and we won. I will not do anything differently [in LA]," he said.
At the age of 36, he said will play on for "as long as I can perform and bring results".
He explained: "The day they tell it's not good enough, I will take my contract and give it back, and I will go. I'm here in the same situation as everybody else. I didn't come for a vacation, and that you can see from the last game."