Thomas Hindle, USA TODAY
Published 11:37 a.m. ET Oct. 25, 2019 | Updated 11:55 a.m. ET Oct. 25, 2019
Zlatan Ibrahimović has never been short of confidence. The LA Galaxy forward is notorious for his ridiculous, boastful quotes. But on Thursday night, following the Galaxy’s loss to LAFC in the MLS playoffs, Ibrahimović let his actions do the talking.
After a 5-3 loss, he turned to a fan and grabbed his crotch — adding another incident to a lengthy compilation of mischief.
When the final whistle sounded, one particularly excited LAFC fan yelled at Ibrahimović while he walked off the pitch. At first, the forward seemed to take no notice. But as the fan edged closer, Ibrahimović reached for his private parts and stared the heckler down. Ibrahimović was escorted off while the fan continued to shout.
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Ibrahimović had a bad night by his lofty standards. In the biggest game of the season, he scored once and was largely shut down by an otherwise sloppy LAFC defense. And the home fans let him know about it, constantly heckling and jeering when he touched the ball.
USA TODAY Sports’ messages to MLS for comment on potential discipline were not immediately returned.
Ibrahimović also made headlines after the LAFC game. Carlos Vela, Ibrahimović’s main rival for MLS MVP, scored twice for LAFC. The second goal was controversial, with Vela appearing offsides in the buildup.
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Ibrahimović made his take on the no-call clear following the match: “The referee didn’t know that? What was he doing upstairs, drinking coffee with Magic Johnson?” Ibrahimović said. (Johnson participated in pregame ceremonies.)
It was a sour end to what could be Ibrahimović’s last game in the MLS. His contract expires in two months and there’s speculation that he could return to Italy on a short-term deal. In a postgame press conference, he described his future in the only way he can.
“We’ll see what happens. … (If I stay), then MLS is good, because the whole world will watch it. If I don’t stay, nobody will remember what MLS is.”
It’s not the first time that he’s made such a gesture. In 2016, while playing for Manchester United, Ibrahimović glared at Nicolás Otamendi of Manchester City and reached for his crotch. He received a yellow card for his troubles but was not suspended by the English Football Association.
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