Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a chance to make his Galaxy debut against LAFC this weekend as the former Manchester United striker landed in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Ibrahimovic departed Manchester United last week with immediate effect after his contract with the club was terminated by mutual consent.
It later emerged the 36-year-old was signing for the LA Galaxy on a deal that ran until 2019 with Ibrahimovic notably joining as a non-designated player.
Arguably the highest-profile signing to arrive in Major League Soccer (MLS) since David Beckham, once it was revealed the Swede was expected to reach the City of Angels on Thursday, fans quickly gathered at the airport to greet him.
According to Swedish publication the Local, supporters met Ibrahimovic outside a private terminal after he exited a black van to greet them. Serenaded with a song, Ibrahimovic proceeded to sign autographs and take pictures.
He is expected to hold a press conference Friday and could make his MLS debut in the derby against Los Angeles FC on Saturday night, with a training session taking place the day before.
Galaxy coach Sigi Schmidt revealed there was a chance the Malmo native could feature but it was unlikely to be for the full 90 minutes.
“I think there’s a chance he can play a part in the [LAFC] game,” Schmid told reporters, as per Eurosport. “I don’t think he’s going to play 90 minutes, but we have to evaluate once he gets here. It’s a long flight and [we have to] see how he feels.”
“Friday is a pretty easy practice the day before the game. We just expect him to be able to be a part of the group and start to introduce himself to the group. It’s all about team and he knows that, he’s been part of successful teams and he knows what it takes to be able to compete, so it’s just the first step.”
Ibrahimovic was a mainstay in Jose Mourinho’s United side during the 2016-2017 season as his 28 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions helped the Red Devils win the Community Shield, EFL Cup and the Europa League in his first season.
However, a knee injury in February last year kept him sidelined for eight months. After re-signing with the club and making a further seven appearances this current season, Ibrahimovic suffered a recurrence of the injury in December against Burnley in what became his last appearance for the club.
Despite his limited game time over the course of the year, Schmidt is not worried about Ibrahimovic’s knee.
“We’re not concerned because we’ve gotten the reports from the doctors and from the physical people at Manchester and physically they said he was fine and was able to train and that maybe it was a little more of a coach’s decision than anything else,” he said.