MLS

Ibrahimovic is 'being recruited by AC Milan', claims MLS commissioner Garber

By Sports Desk November 07, 2019

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is "being recruited by AC Milan", according to Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber.

The 38-year-old has spent the past 18 months in MLS, but his contract with LA Galaxy expires in December and he has been linked with a return to European football.

Ibrahimovic played for Milan for two seasons before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 and Garber has suggested a return is on the cards.

"Zlatan is such an interesting guy," he told ESPN. "He keeps my hands full and my inbox full, but he's a thrill-a-minute. 

"You need to have those guys that break through the clutter like [David] Beckham did in our early days. He is a 38-year-old guy who is being recruited by AC Milan, one of the top clubs in the world."

Ibrahimovic was named in the MLS Best XI in 2018 and 2019 after scoring a combined 53 goals, and Garber has not entirely ruled out the Swedish striker agreeing a new contract to stay in Los Angeles.

"He has almost set records for the number of goals he's scored in the last two years and is exciting on and off the field. 

"He keeps our hands full but I'd love to see him back - that's up to LA Galaxy. I've enjoyed the Zlatan moments, especially when he speaks to me in third person."

One star name may appear to be on his way out of MLS, but Garber hopes others will follow in the steps of Ibrahimovic, Beckham and Thierry Henry.

Beckham spent five years with Galaxy and is now the co-owner of new club Inter Miami, who will make their MLS debut in 2020.

Asked about Beckham's influence in luring others to America, Garber said: "We saw Henry come to this league because he had a conversation with Beckham five or six years ago.

"David is out there speaking to lots of players and, just as importantly, he is very involved in the academy down at Miami. 

"They are recruiting young players and their academy has been open for a year now with a team that's not playing until next year. They have a combination of young players and some international guys that David will bring in."

Related items

  • Northern Ireland 0-0 Netherlands: Dutch delight as Koeman's Oranje qualify Northern Ireland 0-0 Netherlands: Dutch delight as Koeman's Oranje qualify

    Ronald Koeman could celebrate a mission accomplished as Netherlands clinched their place at the Euro 2020 finals with a 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland.

    Coach Koeman and an emerging band of exciting young players have lifted the Dutch out of the doldrums, after failing to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

    Their lone European Championship triumph came in 1988, when a team featuring Koeman at centre-back and the likes of Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten further forward brought home the trophy from West Germany.

    But Netherlands will head into next year's tournament as a rejuvenated side in with a shout of success, albeit they must produce more persuasive cutting edge than the Windsor Park crowd witnessed on Saturday.

    There might have been a Group C upset too, but Steven Davis fired over a first-half penalty for Northern Ireland.

    This was a game unlikely to live long in the memory. Josh Magennis went close with an early header for the hosts, before the ball looped up off Steven Berghuis at the other end and hit the Northern Ireland bar.

    Ryan Babel was lively for Netherlands but lacked a precise finish, which was what Northern Ireland needed on the half-hour after being awarded a controversial penalty.

    Paddy McNair's cross from the right was perfect for George Saville, whose volley struck the arm of Joel Veltman and trundled against the right post.

    Despite Dutch protests that Veltman had no chance to get his arms out of the way, the spot-kick was confirmed but Davis hacked the ball a yard over the crossbar.

    Netherlands were lacking control and made an apparent tactical substitution before the break, with Davy Propper replacing Marten de Roon, who was booked early on, in midfield.

    Magennis squandered another decent chance with his head early in the second half, and news of Germany winning against Belarus meant a draw would not be enough to sustain Northern Ireland's hopes of qualifying directly through to the group stage.

    It meant the side led by Michael O'Neill, who will soon give up his Northern Ireland role after last week becoming Stoke City's new manager, needed to go all out for victory.

    The Dutch looked the more likely though, Babel having a header saved low down by Bailey Peacock-Farrell before Luuk de Jong came on for Berghuis. The breakthrough continued to elude both sides, with the draw a fair outcome.

    What does it mean? Top two settled in Group C

    Netherlands are going to the Euros, and Northern Ireland must take the play-off route if they wish to qualify. That fall-back was always likely to be their realistic target after being drawn in the same group as Germany and Koeman's side.

    A striking difference

    The Dutch team that ruled Europe in 1988 packed a serious punch up front, with Van Basten and Gullit an irrepressible combination. This is not a vintage era for Dutch forwards, however, and the selection of Ryan Babel to lead the line in Belfast exemplified that shortcoming in an otherwise blossoming team. The journeyman turns 33 next month and averages a goal every six games for his country. There must surely be a better alternative to be groomed for a leading role next year.

    Davis misses his cue

    Davis has been Northern Ireland's Mr Reliable for years, and this was his 116th appearance - beating David Beckham's mark for England to become the UK's most-capped midfielder. But the 34-year-old miscued from the penalty spot at a critical moment, his composure lacking as he cleared the bar.

    What's next?

    Netherlands and Northern Ireland wrap up the qualifying campaign on Tuesday. Koeman's team host Estonia in Amsterdam and Northern Ireland head to take on Germany in Frankfurt.

  • Germany 4-0 Belarus: Qualification clinched in comfortable home win Germany 4-0 Belarus: Qualification clinched in comfortable home win

    Germany qualified for Euro 2020 with an ultimately comfortable 4-0 win over Belarus following Toni Kroos' brace at Borussia Park.

    Needing Northern Ireland to fail to beat Netherlands in order to secure their place at the finals with victory on Saturday, Joachim Low's men initially struggled to hold up their end of the bargain.

    Indeed, Germany laboured for 41 minutes until Matthias Ginter belatedly netted and teed up a second-half stroll.

    Leon Goretzka swept in the second, Kroos added the third and then a brilliant fourth, while Group C rivals Northern Ireland were held, setting celebrations in motion in Monchengladbach.

    Germany were quickly on top and Aleksandr Gutor had to be alert to react to a deflected Ginter drive, smartly turning the ball around the post.

    But the wayward hosts then toiled and an unmarked Timo Werner miscued a header in the centre of goal with the 20th attempt of the first half.

    Manuel Neuer was required to bail out his wasteful colleagues, springing to his left to deny Igor Stasevich before blocking from Denis Laptev on the follow-up.

    That scare shocked Germany into action, and Ginter's deft flick from a low Serge Gnabry cross deceived Gutor for the opener.

    Ginter had a role to play in the second shortly after the restart, too, dummying Kroos' corner for Goretzka to pick out the bottom-left corner.

    Gutor dived low to keep out Werner's latest effort but was helpless as Kroos sidefooted inside the right-hand post from 20 yards, assisted by Ginter.

    There was time for further Neuer heroics, however, as the Bayern Munich star saved Stasevich's penalty after a clumsy foul on Pavel Nekhajchik from Robin Koch.

    Kroos would have the final say, controlling on the turn inside the area, dummying into space and sliding in a low finish for number four.


    What does it mean? Work to do - despite the scoreline

    It is mission accomplished for Germany, with their place at Euro 2020 clinched. But this is far from a vintage German side and, if they are to be contenders at the finals, improvement is needed from an outfit that struggled early on against relative minnows Belarus, who were also able to cause the 2014 world champions problems going the other way.

    Neuer proves his worth

    There has been plenty of discussion of late of the goalkeeping role for Germany, with Neuer competing with Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen. While there have been some difficult outings in the past 18 months, this was one of Neuer's better evenings.

    His double-stop at 0-0 from Stasevich and Laptev kept the hosts on track after a frustrating first 40 minutes. The penalty save then preserved a deserved clean sheet.

    Wasteful Werner's woes

    Werner will be grateful to both Neuer and Ginter, as he should have broken the deadlock before they both crucially intervened. An awful attempted header with the goal gaping summed up an underwhelming display from Germany's star attacker. Such misses at Euro 2020 will likely be far more costly.

    What's next?

    Germany host Northern Ireland on Tuesday in a match that now means little to either side. Belarus are into the play-offs but have appeared for the final time in this group, instead playing Montenegro in a friendly next week.

  • Messi in talks with Barcelona over new contract, confirms Abidal Messi in talks with Barcelona over new contract, confirms Abidal

    Lionel Messi is in talks with Barcelona over a new contract, the Spanish club's sporting director Eric Abidal has confirmed.

    The Argentina international has spent 18 years with Barca but his future has been called into question after it emerged earlier this year he can leave Camp Nou for free at the end of any season.

    Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is officially contracted to the LaLiga champions until 2021, but Abidal is hopeful fresh terms can soon be agreed.

    "They are already talking," he told Mundo Deportivo. "I do not know if we will have news soon because the decision will depend on the player, but for us as a club I hope it is sorted as soon as possible."

    Asked when he expects an agreement to be announced, Abidal said: "It will be known when it is known, but I am positive."

    Abidal also confirmed academy product Ansu Fati is in line for a contract extension, having impressed in his breakthrough campaign.

    "We are also talking to him," Abidal said. "He is a young player that we have to protect. We have to talk to his family and representatives."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.