Zlatan Ibrahimovic edges out Wayne Rooney to win MLS Newcomer of the Year award for LA Galaxy

The 37-year-old Swede has been recognised after registering 22 goals and 10 assists in 27 appearances

Tuesday 13 November 2018 09:44
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Manchester United career in numbers

LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been voted MLS Newcomer of the Year ahead of DC United captain and former Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney.

The former Sweden international was recognised by MLS managers, media and his fellow players after a debut season that saw him register 22 goals and 10 assists in 27 appearances.

One of them, a spectacular acrobatic finish against Toronto FC that went viral on social media, took Ibrahimovic’s career tally to 500 goals and was nominated for goal of the season.

Ibrahimovic’s heroics were not enough to lead LA Galaxy to the Western Conference playoffs but they did earn him 34.99 percent of the overall vote, with Rooney garnering 30.9% after contributing 12 goals and six assists in 21 appearances to lead DC United to the Eastern Conference post-season.

Former Arsenal striker and Mexico international Carlos Vela, now the face of LA Galaxy’s city rivals LAFC, finished a distant third with 12.54% of the vote.

Announcing the result of the award on their social media channels, LA Galaxy posted a montage of Ibrahimovic’s season highlights alongside the captain: “Gave them Zlatan.”

Ibrahimovic is currently in talks with LA Galaxy next season and last week warned that he expects the club to build a genuine MLS contender if he agrees to come back.

“For me to return, I want to be able to challenge for the trophy,” the 37-year-old said. “I am not here for a vacation. I am here for the challenge.

“I want to feel I have a chance to be the best in MLS – my team, not me, because I am the best. I want to feel my team against the other ones.

“In the long term, I don't know how it looks like. It is new for me – I am here six or seven months. But the club knows all my wishes and all my demands. It is up to them what they want.

“But they are positive and they have been very good to me. They have helped me and my family with whatever I need. Let's say I am not worried.”

The 37-year-old also appeared to dismiss the possibility of joining a European club on loan during the off-season, but his agent Mino Raiola clarified that he and his client are “prepared to talk”.

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