Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s new deal with the LA Galaxy could end up being the biggest payday in MLS history.
The Galaxy announced Ibrahimovic’s signing earlier this week without revealing terms, but multiple sources with knowledge of the contract told ESPN FC that he’ll be paid between $7 million and $7.5 million in 2019, ESPN.com reports.
That constitutes a considerable raise from the $1.5 million the Swede earned in 2018, a season that saw him score 22 goals and add 10 assists in 27 games and be nominated for the league’s MVP award. His goal tally was the second most in the league behind the 31 goals scored by eventual league MVP Josef Martinez of Atlanta United.
Data provided by the MLS Players Association lists the salary and total compensation for each player dating to 2013. Former Orlando City midfielder Kaka holds the record in both categories, earning a salary in 2017 of $6.66 million and total compensation of $7,167,500.
If Ibrahimovic’s compensation ends up even in the middle part of the range, he will hold the record in both categories.
Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco was the highest-paid player in 2018 with total compensation of $7,115.555.67.
There had been reports that Ibrahimovic, 37, was willing to return to AC Milan in a bid to improve his salary, but the forward ultimately re-signed with the Galaxy.
“There was a lot of talks, a lot of rumors, a lot of whispers around. But actually I never left,” Ibrahimovic said in a video posted on the Galaxy’s website when he signed Tuesday. “I stayed here, and like I said, I’m not finished yet with the MLS. I’m still not satisfied with the outcome. I have things still to do.
“I see my first year as warming up, and I think that my second year will be different. Now I know the league, I know my opponents more, even if they’ve known me since day one, I know how to handle it better now and I know what to do. The first year was a warming up, this year, I come to finish it.”
The Galaxy will begin the 2019 season on March 2 with a home match at the soon-to-be-renamed Dignity Health Sports Park against the Chicago Fire.