Despite plenty of speculation and rumor suggesting otherwise, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to the LA Galaxy for another season.

By Avi Creditor
December 18, 2018

Despite plenty of speculation and rumor suggesting otherwise, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to the LA Galaxy for another season.

The MLS club confirmed as much on Tuesday, announcing that Ibrahimovic will be back on an improved, Designated Player deal in 2019. Ibrahimovic had originally joined the Galaxy as a Targeted Allocation Money signing on a two-year deal, but in order to sweeten the deal and keep Ibrahimovic from departing to an interested club elsewhere, he's earned DP status and an improved contract. 

“We are very pleased to sign Zlatan to a new contract that will see him return for the 2019 season,” new Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said in a statement. “He showed his value last season and we look forward to him representing our club next year. With Zlatan returning, we will continue to improve our team in advance of the season.”

Ibrahimovic finished third in the MVP voting after a 2018 in which he scored 22 goals and had 10 assists in 27 matches. He also scored MLS's Goal of the Season, with his 40-yard volley vs. LAFC minutes into his MLS career winning the honors. None of that was enough to get the Galaxy into the playoffs, with LA finishing in seventh in the Western Conference and missing out on the final spot after a loss to the Houston Dynamo in the regular-season finale.

With Ibrahimovic as a DP, it remains to be seen what the trickle-down effect is on the Galaxy roster. LA already had its full allotment of three DPs between Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini, meaning one will either need to depart the club or have his roster charge bought down with TAM.

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It also remains to be seen who will be Ibrahimovic's manager. He's reportedly in favor of the club keeping Dominic Kinnear, who stepped in as an interim coach following Sigi Schmid's midseason departure. The club had also been linked to former Portland Timbers manager Caleb Porter, but he is reportedly close to taking the Columbus Crew job instead.

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