Zlatan Ibrahimović wows with first MLS hat trick: "He’s the most physically imposing player this league has ever had"

CARSON, Calif. – Is there anything Zlatan Ibrahimović can’t do?

The 35-year-old Swedish striker scored his first career MLS hat trick on Sunday to help the Galaxy earn a thrilling 4-3 win over Orlando City SC. Ibrahimović has now scored 15 goals and tallied six assists in just 17 games played.

“It was a good day. For the team. For me. I scored three goals, had one assist. We won the game. If we wouldn’t have won the game, it doesn’t matter how many goals or assists you do, to win is something different. I think we started the first half poor. Very poor. We conceded easy goals. I think that was lack of willingness, lack of concentration, energy, motivation. In the second, we showed what we wanted. We went out, and we went for the kill.”

Ibrahimović put forth his most dominating performance since joining the team in March against Orlando City. On Sunday, the Swede scored three times and tallied an assist on Giovani dos Santos’ goal, while also creating three chances and completing nearly 80 percent of his passes.

The forward also contributed on the defensive end, winning eight of 14 duels as well as six aerial headers. 

Following the match, head coach Sigi Schmid couldn’t find enough superlatives to describe his performance and even compared him to another Los Angeles sports legend.

“He’s the most physically imposing player this league has ever had at forward. You go all the way back to the old days, and you talk about Mamadou Diallo and some people like that who were physically beasts and big guys and had a little bit of pace,” head coach Sigi Schmid.  “When [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic posts up, it’s like Shaquille O’Neal or people like that; you just don’t move them. And, what we’ve learned as a team is that we’ve tried to take advantage of that.”

As for Ibrahimovic, he’s not interested in hearing the praise, he’s simply eager to provide more memorable moments—and wins – for the Galaxy.

“Please don’t say it like that. You make me feel alive now,” he said when asked if, at this moment, he feels like he could do anything. “I will ask for more so don’t do that. I feel good. My teammates are helping me. Like I said last week, physically I feel good. I’m training good. I don’t miss one training. I’m playing all the games. I have a good balance. I take care of my body.

“My age is what it is; I’m still proving even if my age what it is, I’m still proving that it’s not about the age. It’s about how you prepare and how you take care of yourself. People were worried how old I am. But don’t worry about my age. You should worry when I slow down.”

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