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5 best players to move from Europe to MLS

Robin Bairner
Top 5 / Top 10
8.62K   //    25 Mar 2018, 13:17 IST

Manchester United v Burnley - Premier League
Ibrahimovic recently made the switch to LA Galaxy

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will become arguably the greatest footballer to grace Major League Soccer when he turns out for LA Galaxy in the forthcoming season.

The veteran Swede was released by Manchester United earlier this week only to announce his arrival in the USA in typically flamboyant style, taking out a full page advert in the LA Times with the message: “Dear Los Angeles, You're welcome.”

Indeed, he follows former Manchester United team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger west, with the Germany international trolling Ibrahimovic for becoming something of a stalker:

Although his time at Old Trafford was cut short by his inability to fully recover from a serious knee injury, it is anticipated that the 36-year-old will prove to be a success in the States.

He is not, however, the first big-name to finish off his career in the MLS, which has become a popular destination for ageing players over the years who wish to experience a change in scenery and a comfortable lifestyle to boot, away from the glare of the fishbowl European media.

Indeed, some of the world’s very best players have blazed a trail for Ibra to follow.

Here, we take a look at five of the very best and study just how they fared.

#5 Bastian Schweinsteiger

Montreal Impact v Chicago Fire
Montreal Impact v Chicago Fire

The tale of Bastian Schweinsteiger in the MLS is a cautionary one for Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his former team-mate has at times struggled to cope with the dip in standard coming from a big European team into a lesser league.

Like the Swede, Schweinsteiger, a veteran of 500 games with Bayern Munich, moved to America off the back of a disappointing spell at Manchester United, which was plagued by physical problems. The German, who moved to Chicago Fire, clashed with Jose Mourinho and departed in March 2017 under a cloud.

Right from the outset, things seemed to go well for him. He looked at ease in his opening match against Montreal Impact, even getting on the scoresheet, which was something of a rarity for him throughout his career.

Chicago enjoyed a strong season with him in the heart of the field, as he drove them up to the top of the MLS standings, but though he was named in the MLS All-Star Fan XI and accepted a one-year contract extension option, he has not been without his critics, some caused by his outspoken views.

“We all know that this league is just not like the Premier League or the Bundesliga, and, of course, it can be frustrating on the pitch at times when things discussed [in the team meeting] are not implemented or when somebody loses a ball or just does not have an eye for the teammate,” he told Suddeutsche Zeitung.

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Robin Bairner
UK-based freelance football journalist for the last decade, I've appeared in publications such as the Guardian, the Blizzard, When Saturday Comes, but can most frequently be found on I write about European football, and have worked at both World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016.
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