Galaxy re-sign Zlatan, bring back Juninho

A day after tweeting that he planned to remain with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic officially re-signed with the Major League Soccer club for the 2019 season on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Former Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic attends a meeting with media representatives on the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, Russia June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The 37-year-old striker will become one of the Galaxy’s “designated players” who don’t count against the league’s salary cap.

Los Angeles also reached a contract agreement with midfielder Juninho, who played with the club from 2010-15 and was part of three MLS Cup-winning sides (2011, 2012 and 2014).

Ibrahimovic arrived in Los Angeles this year and played the 2018 season for the cut rate of $1.5 million. His new salary was not announced.

“We are very pleased to sign Zlatan to a new contract that will see him return for the 2019 season,” Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said in a statement released by the club. “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.”

Various reports had linked Ibrahimovic to a possible return to AC Milan, for whom he played from 2010-12, but Milan sporting director Leonardo told reporters last week that the Swedish star was returning to the Galaxy after the MLS team met Ibrahimovic’s requests.

Ibrahimovic was an immediate star for the Galaxy. He scored 22 goals — second in MLS — and added 10 assists in 27 matches and was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year. He also had the 2018 Goal of the Year — a 40-yard strike for his first MLS tally, moments after first taking the field — and was the only player to have two nominations for the award.

Juninho, 29, left the Galaxy to play for Tijuana in Mexico’s Liga MX in 2016. He spent most of past three seasons in Mexico but also had a loan spell with the Chicago Fire of MLS in 2017.

In 208 career MLS games, Juninho has 19 goals and 25 assists.

“Juninho knows what it means to represent the Galaxy and will be a leader on and off the field for our players,” te Kloese said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “He is a valuable addition to our roster.”

—Field Level Media

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