Zlatan Ibrahimovic slammed the MLS structure, and it could be an attack on American sports in general


Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said the MLS playoff system is “s—” and believes the structure does not encourage a winning mentality.

The former Sweden international, 37, joined LA Galaxy in 2018 after leaving Manchester United, and he has taken the MLS by storm with his trademark style of play and enigmatic personality off the field.

Ibrahimovic scored an impressive 22 times in 27 games for the Galaxy during the 2018 season, including a stunning brace on his debut against rivals LAFC, but couldn’t stop his team slumping to a seventh placed finish in the Western Conference.

This term, he’s managed an equally solid 16 goals in 18 games.


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The Galaxy currently sits fifth in the Western Conference, on course to qualify for the playoffs, which provides a chance to lift the MLS Cup at the end of the season.

However, having played in four of Europe’s top five divisions – leagues which require teams to finish first to lift their respective titles – Ibrahimovic has voiced his disapproval of the playoff system in the MLS.

“I think the system is s—,” Ibrahimovic told reporters in Los Angeles following a training session on Thursday, according to Goal. “How can you learn mentality if you only have to reach the playoffs?”

“You just need to win the playoffs, and that’s it. The results in each game are important, but here, if you come in seventh place, you make the playoffs and win, you are champion.”

He added: “For me, the mentality is every day, training the way you train is the way you play a game, and with the MLS system, how do you create that mentality to be on your toes 24 hours? It’s very difficult.”

The MLS is not the only league in the US to use a playoff system as the NBA, the NHL, the NFL, and the MLB all adopt similar structures.

The Galaxy is next in action on Monday when it travels to the Audi Field to take on DC United.

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