Zlatan Ibrahimovic beat Wayne Rooney and Carlos Vela to win the award.

By Avi Creditor
November 12, 2018

The MLS Newcomer of the Year is not the label Zlatan Ibrahimovic coveted the most, but it certainly describes his first season in the league.

Ibrahimovic won the award on Monday, beating D.C. United signing Wayne Rooney and and LAFC star Carlos Vela to win the honor, which is given to the best new signing that has previous professional experience. All three were also named to the league's 2018 Best XI on Sunday and are finalists for league MVP honors along with Atlanta United's Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron.

Ibrahimovic had 22 goals and 10 assists in 27 games with the Galaxy, and he announced his arrival with authority, scoring two goals to spark a memorable comeback against LAFC on his debut. He had two goals–including the stunning 40-yard volley vs. LAFC–nominated for Goal of the Year, and his seven game-winning goals were second most in the league.

Ibrahimovic, who scored the 500th goal of his career for club and country during the season, carried 36.36% percent of the average vote conducted by players, media and clubs. Rooney was a close second with 32.25%, while Vela was a distant third with 13.47%. Minnesota United's Darwin Quintero, New York Red Bulls' Kaku, LAFC's Diego Rossi and Sporting Kansas City's Johnny Russell were next in the voting, respectively.

He has said that he wants to come back to the Galaxy for a second season and is under contract through 2019 but also has reported interest from clubs around the world that could render his stay in MLS a brief one.

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