LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has his work cut out to surpass David Beckham as the greatest coup in MLS history, according to Bruce Arena.
Ibrahimovic marked his debut with a sensational double in the 4-3 derby victory over Los Angeles FC, but he scored just once in his next seven appearances and was sent off in a 1-0 win against Montreal Impact on May 21.
Following his return from suspension, the Swedish striker has notched four times in three outings, but Arena thinks it will be difficult for him to make more of an impact in the United States than Beckham.
Former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder Beckham joined the Galaxy in 2007, won successive MLS Cups and, having retired in 2013, is in the process of setting up his own Miami-based franchise.
Arena told Omnisport when promoting his new book: “Ibrahimovic and Beckham I think are two different animals.
“Both positive moves for the Galaxy and the league and if you live in Los Angeles you can see the presence that Ibrahimovic has had here, he’s helped draw big crowds for the LA Galaxy and as of late he’s scoring goals so he’s been a really positive move.
“I think history to date would say that David Beckham has been the biggest player we’ve brought in that’s made a difference in the league.
“He came in when the league still had a way to go, in I believe it was 2007, and his influence was pretty good for the league. The league has expanded since then, he helped the Galaxy win a number of championships, so David Beckham has been a tremendous influence for the sport in this country.”
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 3, 2018
The Galaxy (6-7-2) sit eighth in the Western Conference and will require significant improvement in the second half of the season if they are to avoid missing the play-offs for the first time since 2008, but Arena thinks it is possible with Ibrahimovic on their roster.
“I can’t tell you where the Galaxy is going to go this year, they’ve got a long way to go,” he said.
“Ibrahimovic is a great player and right now the Galaxy are in the bottom half of the standings in their conference, but there’s no reason to believe they can’t turn it around in the second half of the season.”
Outspoken, honest, and game changing—Bruce Arena’s memoir What’s Wrong with US? is available now wherever books are sold. For more information, visit https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062803948/whats-wrong-with-us/.
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