Friday, September 21, 2018

I gave them Zlatan – Ibrahimovic revels in two-goal Galaxy debut

SoccerNews in MLS 1 Apr 2018

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic hailed his special start to life in the MLS after marking his LA Galaxy debut with a sensational match-winning brace.

Ibrahimovic came off the bench and scored twice in a 19-minute cameo, including a memorable long-range strike, as the Galaxy overcame a three-goal deficit to beat rivals Los Angeles FC 4-3 on Saturday.

Former Manchester United forward Ibrahimovic only arrived in California on Thursday but the 36-year-old made an immediate impact at Stubhub Center, equalising with a 40-yard volley in the 77th minute.

Ibrahimovic was not done there, his 90th-minute header completing a stunning back and sparking wild celebrations.

“If you look back, every team I played for, I scored in my first official game. I wasn’t going to let that stop today,” Ibrahimovic told reporters.

“I was just waiting to come on because when you’re losing 3-0, the adrenaline is pumping even more because you want to be able to do something for your team in a difficult situation.

“The fans were demanding something and I gave them Zlatan.

“I always say it’s difficult when you do something like that first goal. You cannot describe it. You need to go through it yourself and I’ve been through it many times. Wherever I’ve gone, the fans have gone crazy.

“I said before I came here in Manchester with the Galaxy people, that I would make the fans enjoy me. 

“There are kids out there and you just want to give back to them. They are the future and you want to be a good example to them in a crazy way and that’s by scoring crazy goals.”

“I felt I’d played 40 games for my 20 minutes. It was everything – jet lag, didn’t play for a long time,” he added. “I did the first sprint and I was starting to breathe immediately, so when the second one came, I thought I’ll shoot and not run with the ball. That was the ball that went in.

“But there was a lot of adrenaline because I hadn’t played for a long time.”

Ibrahimovic added: “It was amazing from the first step I took inside the stadium.

“Once I was on the bench, I could feel the support, but not just for me, for the whole team. They wanted Zlatan and I gave them Zlatan.

“It’s easier to play when you have fans pushing you, supporting you and giving you that little bit extra you need. When you have a team that welcomes you in the best way, it makes it easier for you.

“When it goes well, you see the happiness in your team-mates and you just want to keep going. But I was happy when the game finished because I don’t know if I could have played more!”

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