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5 of the best foreign players to play in the MLS

Conor Lochrie
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
3.10K   //    Timeless

D.C. United v Los Angeles Galaxy
Keane celebrating became a familiar sight in the MLS

The MLS has been growing as a top league destination year by year. It's more competitive, better players are being attracted to the league, and attendances are strong. While it was fashionable to mock the league for only attracting ageing, retiring foreign players from European leagues, the quality of purchase is getting better as the MLS' attractiveness has increased.

With the amount of international players limited also, it's important to acquire the right player for a team. This article lists 5 of the best foreign players to grace the MLS. Some prominent players miss out, for valid reasons: Andrea Pirlo was a majestic midfielder for AC Milan, Juventus, and Italy, but often appeared pedestrian and lacking in effort for New York City FC; English icons Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard didn't play long enough for New York City FC and LA Galaxy respectively to merit inclusion.

Current superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic spectacularly scored on his debut for LA Galaxy last week and time will tell if he'll truly make his mark on the league. The players actually included are deserving of it, for they played some great football in the United States.


#5 Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)

The Irish striker is, simply, a great goal scorer. With 68 goals, he retired from international duty as his country's top scorer of all time. He is also currently the joint fourth highest scoring European in history. For a decade he had been one of the Premier League's sharpest marksmen, particularly with Spurs. He reached double figures in goals in 7 Premier League campaigns, and ended up as the thirteenth most successful scorer in the league's history, with 126 goals.

What he didn't have much of, though, was silverware: before coming to the MLS, Keane had secured only one trophy, the League Cup with Spurs in 2008. That would swiftly change with LA Galaxy, and when he left the club in 2016, he had won three MLS Cups. He wasn't a spectator either, reaching double figures in each of his five seasons.

His performances were recognised with being included in the Best XI in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and being an all-star in 2015. He scored 104 goals in just 166 appearances, and left as the club's second highest scorer of all time, only behind the iconic Landon Donovan.

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