MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: 2018 MLS All-Star Game Preview and Prediction

2018 MLS All-Star Game: MLS All-Stars vs Juventus

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta – Wednesday, August 1st 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Main Event

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Preview

The best in MLS will take on Italy’s finest club side in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta on Wednesday. This will be the 23rd annual All-Star game and could break the attendance record with a full house expected at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The current All-Star attendance record is 70,728, set back in 2010 when fans packed into Houston’s Reliant Stadium to watch the MLS All-Stars take on Manchester United.

The MLS All-Stars are looking to win the game for the first time in three years after losing on penalties to Real Madrid this time last year. Prior to that, they fell 2-1 to Arsenal. The All-Stars last won the game in 2015, beating Spurs 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

This year’s All-Star team is stacked with attacking talent, even after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa have had to pull out. The likes of Atlanta’s own Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Ezequiel Barco will look to link up with fellow attackers Carlos Vela, Bradley Wright-Phillips and former Juventus star Sebastian Giovinco.

Head coach Tata Martino will set his side up to attack Juventus – a team renowned for their defensive prowess The Bianconeri have added a monumental attacking threat of their own this summer in Cristiano Ronaldo but the 33-year-old will not be ready to make his debut on Wednesday.

Juve are busy preparing for the 2018/19 Serie A season as they will look to retain their league title for the eighth successive year. They are also the reigning Coppa Italia champions and only the second Serie A side to ever take on the All-Stars, following AS Roma in 2013 – a game the All-Stars lost 3-1.

This will be the third of four Juventus preseason games in the United States. They have played two of their three International Champions Cup matches, beating Bayern Munich 2-0 before drawing 1-1 with Benfica, a game they won 4-2 on penalties. They will round off their ICC games when they face Real Madrid on Saturday but all focus is on the All-Star game ahead of that.

Ibrahimovic pulled out of the All-Star game on Sunday night after scoring his first hat-trick for LA Galaxy. That was as a result of playing three matches in a week. David Villa also misses out with injury. Minnesota United’s Darwin Quintero and New York Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams are the replacements.

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Team News

MLS All-Stars

Position 2018 MLS All-Star Squad
Goalkeepers Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)
Defenders Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United), Laurent Ciman (LAFC), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls), Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielders Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jonathan Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Alexander Ring (New York City FC), Ilie Sanchez (Sporting Kansas City), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), Yoshimar Yotún (Orlando City SC), Wilfried Zahibo (New England Revolution)
Forwards Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Josef Martinez (Atlanta United), Darwin Quintero (Minnesota United), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)Juventus

Juventus

Position 2018 Juventus Preseason Squad
Goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny, Mattia Perin, Carlo Pinsoglio, Mattia Del Favero
Defenders Mattia De Sciglio, Giorgio Chiellini, Mehdi Benatia, Alex Sandro, Mattia Caldara, Andrea Barzagli, Joao Cancelo, Daniele Rugani, Pietro Beruatto, Roman Macek, Grigoris Kastanos
Midfielders Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Emre Can, Leandro Fernandes, Matheus Pereira da Silva, Alessandro Di Pardo, Nicolo Fagioli
Forwards Federico Bernardeschi, Luca Clemenza, Stefano Beltrame, Andrea Favilli

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Key Stats

MLS All-Stars’ last five: L/L/W/L/D

Juventus’ preseason form: W/D

Key stat: Both sides have scored in each of the past six MLS All-Star games. There have been 29 goals scored in the past eight editions of the match – an average of 3.6 per game.

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Prediction

MLS All-Stars 3-2 Juventus: This has all the makings of being a spectacle. The All-Stars have an abundance of attacking talent and will have to set up to attack the Italian giants. However, that could lead to an open game and Juventus have more than enough weapons themselves to unleash. Either way, this should be full of goals and we think the All-Stars have enough to edge it. Don’t be surprised to see former Juve man Giovinco score the decisive goal…

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Can Zlatan deliver a title on the other side of the Atlantic?

It is fair to say that “Zlatan-mania” has gripped the United States as the legendary Swedish forward has added the Los Angeles Galaxy to his long list of employers in what, to this point, has been an incredibly successful career.

Wherever Ibrahimovic goes, the trophies usually follow, There are no guarantees in football but wherever the 36-year-old calls home, he increases the chances of lifting silverware come the end of the season. The big question is whether the man who has won league titles in five different countries can now make it six.

If the start of his American adventure is anything to go by, then there is absolutely no reason why he cannot. The former Manchester United striker had to make do with a place on the bench for his MLS debut on Saturday. The fixture in question was the first ever Los Angeles derby between LA Galaxy and LAFC.

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And it could not have got off to a worse start for the Galaxy as they found themselves 3-0 down after 48 minutes. If there was ever the need to bring on the mercurial Swede, then this would be the time. Although, this was a deficit that was seemingly too large to overturn.

Enter Zlatan. He perhaps was not responsible for completing the incredible comeback all by himself, but he was the man who stole the headlines come full time after a sensational cameo performance.

If you’re someone who is well versed in football betting, then, with LAFC being 3-0 up, it looked like a dead cert that the MLS new boys would earn all three points against their newfound local rivals and, even with 15 minutes to go, that still looked like the case as LAFC led 3-2.

However, Ibrahimovic then unleashed an incredible 40-yard volley to level the scores and leave everyone in attendance speechless at the outrageous piece of skill that he delivered. If that was the main act, then there was still time for an encore.

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It eventually came in the shape of an injury time winner from who else but Ibrahimovic. His header capped off the most unlikely of comebacks as the enigmatic icon had truly announced himself to the American soccer fraternity.

There was undoubted disappointment in the fact that injury curtailed his Manchester United career; the cruciate injury that he suffered against Anderlecht at the tail end of last season has visibly robbed him of a yard of pace as the cut and thrust of the Premier League passed him by.

But Old Trafford’s loss will, of course, be Major League Soccer’s gain. Ibrahimovic will not see this transatlantic jaunt as simply a place to go out to pasture; he has made the move with the sole intention of winning titles and, on the evidence of his debut performance, that is something that looks a very realistic prospect.

LA Galaxy vs LAFC | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: LA Galaxy vs Los Angeles FC

StubHub Center – Saturday, March 31st 2018 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football (via red button) & Sky Sports Mix

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Preview

It’s LA Galaxy vs LAFC. It’s the first derby clash between the new rivals and it’s the most anticipated game of the weekend. The two sides will face off in what’s unofficially being called El Trafico. Oh, and to make things even more interesting, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available for his MLS debut.

LA Galaxy return home for the first time since opening weekend. The good news is that their only win of the campaign so far came on home soil. The bad news is they haven’t won since. A 2-1 loss away at NYCFC was followed by a 0-0 draw at Vancouver last weekend, but that point has to be seen as a good result, particularly as LA dressed just 17 players.

Still, they’ve only played three games and none of that really matters ahead of a derby game. Even if it is the first-ever meeting in what is sure to develop into one of Major League Soccer’s hottest rivalries. The fact that Ibrahimovic is available to make his debut makes this all the more of a spectacle. Saturday’s game won’t just be a big deal in Los Angeles, but across the world.

Standing in the opposite corner are the new guys who have made one hell of an impression so far. LAFC have only played two games in their short MLS history. Yet, they’ve won both games and have scored six goals. Oh, and both games have come on the road if that wasn’t impressive enough.

Atlanta United set a precedent with the explosive start to life in MLS they made last season. LAFC have gone one better and have smashed the benchmark through the roof. They already seem to have an identity. Bob Bradley has his side well drilled and they will undoubtedly be hungry to keep their 100% record intact beyond Saturday’s huge clash.

It could be an extra boost that they’ve had three weeks to prepare for this game after back-to-back bye weeks. They’ve still been busy off the field though as Andre Horta has joined as the third Designated Player. However, the 21-year-old midfielder is unlikely to join up with LAFC until the summer.

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Team News

LA Galaxy

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Giovani dos Santos (hamstring), Jonathan dos Santos (hamstring), Michael Ciani (groin).

🚑 Out: Romain Alessandrini (hamstring), Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion).

LAFC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Omar Gaber (groin), Calum Mallace (knee).

🚑 Out: Luis Lopez (leg), Walker Zimmerman (hamstring).

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Key Stats

LA Galaxy’s MLS form: W/L/D

LAFC’s MLS form: W/W

Key stat: LA Galaxy are unbeaten in their last three home games in MLS, scoring six and conceding just two. That comes after a run that saw them lose six of their previous eight home games.

LA Galaxy vs LAFC: Prediction

LA Galaxy 1-3 LAFC: Goals are expected here as both sides will be desperate to stamp their authority down. The stars from both sides should be out and with or without Ibrahimovic on the field, LA Galaxy have weapons to hurt LAFC. That said, LAFC have looked incredibly dangerous so far and there’s no reason they can’t spoil the Galaxy’s party with another huge road win on Saturday.

MLS, welcome to Zlatan: Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy on two-year deal but will not be a DP

It’s official. It’s a deal that has been rumoured for a number of years and it’s now come to fruition as Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy for what will surely be the final years of his incredible career.

The 36-year-old Swedish striker terminated his contract with Manchester United on Thursday. That meant he could join LA Galaxy on a free transfer. But in addition to that coup, the Galaxy have been able to convince him to come to MLS without being a Designated Player.

Ibrahimovic’s contract will run through the 2019 season and he will earn $1.5 million per year, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. That amount is the maximum allowed for a contract using Targeted Allocation Money. So it means Giovani Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini will remain DP’s with the Galaxy.

“Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome”

Ibrahimovic is one of football’s biggest characters. He is a global superstar as a result of both his incredible goalscoring exploits and his enormous ego that has made headlines wherever he has played.

He hasn’t even landed in Los Angeles but has already started his famous antics. An entire page of the LA Times was dedicated to Ibrahimovic’s signing on Friday, with a very short message from the man himself. It simply read: “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome.”

Ibrahimovic is expected to arrive in LA next week, on either Wednesday and Thursday. He has only played seven times since making an incredibly fast recovery from cruciate knee-ligament damage. He suffered the injury in the Europa League last April.

However, if he feels ready to play from the outset, he could make his debut in the hugely anticipated Los Angeles Derby between LA Galaxy and LAFC on Saturday, March 31 – the first ever meeting between the new rivals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy following a trophy-filled career. The powerful forward scored 421 goals in 21 seasons across Europe. With those goals coming for the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United.

He is the only player to have won 13 titles in four different leagues. He is Sweden’s all-time top goalscorer. And he is the only player to have scored in the following derbies: De Klassieker, the Derby della Madonnina, the Derby d’Italia, El Clásico, Le Classique, the Manchester Derby and the North-West Derby. Don’t bet against him making an immediate impact with a goal in the first LA Derby next weekend.

MLS, welcome to Zlatan.

Zlatan to MLS: Mourinho gives green light for Ibrahimovic to join LA Galaxy ahead of 2018 season

Zlatan Ibrahimovic appears as close as ever to completing a move to Major League Soccer. The LA Galaxy are reportedly in advanced talks to complete a deal to bring Zlatan to MLS, with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho suggesting he would be happy to allow him to leave imminently.

The news was revealed by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman late on Sunday night, suggesting that both the Galaxy and the player’s representatives have been negotiating a deal to bring Zlatan to MLS.

This isn’t the first time Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to MLS. But given the circumstances, it feels as if it really is now or never. The iconic forward is 36 and is still recovering from a serious ACL tear suffered last April and is no longer at the top of the pecking order at Man Utd. The recent arrival of Alexis Sanchez has done little to help his chances.

That’s where the LA Galaxy can come in and offer the attractive option of regular first-team football alongside a quality standard of living. Ibrahimovic has made no secret of his desire to one day play in MLS and he now looks as close as ever to making that a reality.

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Mourinho gives green light

One potential stumbling block for the Galaxy would be the fact he is contracted to Manchester United until the end of June. However, Jose Mourinho has confirmed he would be happy to allow the striker to leave before the summer.

“He told me nothing about it,” Mourinho said on Monday. “The first time I read or heard something about that was from the media. He never mentioned that to me so I don’t know.

“Zlatan is in the last year of his contract. If it’s true and Zlatan wants a future in another club in another country we are here to help and to create conditions for that to happen, not to make his life difficult.”

The 2018 MLS season begins on March 3, with LA Galaxy’s opening match taking place away at the Portland Timbers on Sunday, March 4.

Ibrahimovic has only made seven appearances this season since recovering from that knee injury. He would therefore benefit from joining up with LA Galaxy for preseason preparations to ensure he is sharp and ready for the 2018 campaign, if a deal can be struck in the next couple of weeks.

Is it time for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to move to MLS?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 years old and recovering from a serious knee injury but that doesn’t stop the Swede from being linked with some of the biggest clubs on the planet. Such is the pedigree of the striker who left Manchester United at the end of last season. The man who calls himself Zlatan has long been linked with a move to MLS and with the list of likely European destinations apparently growing shorter, is it now the right time for Zlatan to move to the States? LA Galaxy have been interested in the past but after the signing of Jonathan dos Santos, their new city neighbours LAFC could be the right destination for Ibrahimovic.

Career

There haven’t been many more successful players in Europe in the last few decades. He’s won trophies with six clubs, league titles with five and despite his age, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t done yet. After spells in Sweden and the Netherlands, Ibrahimovic moved to Serie A in 2004 where his career really took off. He spent two years at Juventus before the Swede moved to Inter Milan where he won three consecutive league titles. After a less-than successful year at Barcelona, he returned to Italy with city rivals AC, helping the Milan side win the double in 2011.

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The forward then spent four incredibly successful seasons with PSG before moving to Manchester United for a single year just last summer. His move to Manchester United was something of a surprise. Ibrahimovic has long been linked with a move to the MLS, according to Bleacher Report and those links have returned now his time in England is seemingly over. His spell at Manchester United was cut short following a nasty knee injury picked up in April.

Links to MLS and injuries

LA Galaxy have long been admirers of Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer, with reports earlier this year suggesting he had signed a pre-contract agreement with the club. It was believed at the time that Galaxy had ‘blown United out of the water’ with the deal offered to the Swede but that was back in March. The situation has changed immensely since then and the player’s injury a month later probably had a lot to do with that. The Galaxy looked elsewhere and completed the signing of Villarreal midfielder and brother of Giovani, Jonathan dos Santos in late July. That takes them to three Designated Players and effectively rules them out of a big-money move for Ibrahimovic unless they sell one of their current stars.

Galaxy were undoubtedly put off by Ibrahimovic’s injury but is it as bad as feared? Players far younger than Ibrahimovic had their careers ruined by similar injuries but the Swede’s agent gave these incredible quotes about the problem a few months ago.

“His knee is so strong that the doctors said they had never seen anything like it,” Mino Raiola said back in May.

“He has a knee that it is almost impossible for a football player with a 20-year career to have. It was quite clean, there was no harm in it.

“Zlatan is so strong that the doctor wants him back after his career to research on him.”

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It remains to be seen whether that’s true or an agent just trying to squeeze one last big money move from his client. Still, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an incredible athlete. At 35 years old and after four seasons in France, the Swede came into the Premier League and controlled Manchester United at times last season. He scored a bucket load of goals and looked just as fit and strong as he did a decade ago. He would be a coup for almost any club on the planet but how many could actually sign him?

The Next Move

As of August 1, Manchester United are 31/50 favourites to re-sign the Swede, with any MLS club at 5/4 according to Betway. Italian sides AC Milan and Juventus are out at 6/1 and 8/1 respectively before a big jump out to 20/1 for Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg. Manchester United have, of course, signed Romelu Lukaku which makes a move for Ibrahimovic appear unlikely so the States now looks like the best bet.

Few sides could afford the Swede whose signing would carry many pros and cons. He’s a worldwide name and is the player MLS fans would like to see join the league most, according to a recent poll. Despite that, he won’t be able to play for a while and would require a huge contract which limits the number of realistic options. The best one out there is Los Angeles FC. The LA side will join MLS next season and they are in need of a star player after the appointment of head coach Bob Bradley. Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be perfect and could spend the next few months helping the club grow while recuperating from his injury ahead of the side’s MLS debut next season.

It’s unclear how likely a move is but Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be an ideal signing for LAFC. He’s one of the most successful players of the last twenty years and carries with him a global recognition. He may be recuperating from a nasty knee injury but LAFC won’t be playing until next March so he won’t be missing much for now. Ibrahimovic is just the sort of name that LAFC – and MLS – needs and would be a fantastic coup for both the club and the league.

Three Premier League players that could move to MLS as free agents this summer

There are still eight weeks left of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign but the futures of a number of the division’s top players are still hanging in the balance with contracts that are set to expire on June 30.

Major League Soccer clubs are constantly looking to strengthen squads, especially with experienced stars from Europe that can be brought in for free to help turn a season on its head at the midway point of the campaign.

That should be no different this summer, so here are three players that could join MLS as free agents in the coming months.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic has been in incredible form during his first season in English football, firing in 26 goals and helping Manchester United to win the League Cup in February. But as things stand it appears as though this could be the big striker’s only season in England, with LA Galaxy keen on making him the best-paid player in MLS history if he chooses not to extend his United contract past June 30.

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United are keen on extending Ibrahimovic’s contract for at least one more season but the chance to enjoy the Hollywood lifestyle in Los Angeles might be enough to tempt him to move to MLS this year.

Current wages: £220,000 per week
Possible MLS destination: LA Galaxy

Pablo Zabaleta

Zabaleta has been at Manchester City for nine seasons but there are no signs that a new contract will be offered to the 32-year-old. He hasn’t been as important for the Citizens over the last two seasons and has only started 10 of City’s 29 Premier League games under Guardiola this term.

West Ham have been linked with a move for the Argentine international if he does indeed leave City on a free this summer but MLS clubs would surely be monitoring the situation in case Zabaleta decides he wants to move closer to his homeland for the final years of his professional career. MLS clubs have been switching their focus to defensive players over the last few months and Zabaleta would present plenty of teams with an experienced addition if they’re willing to spend the money on his wages.

Current wages: £90,000 per week
Possible MLS destination: Montreal Impact

Lucas Leiva

Lucas is in his tenth season in the English top flight but it could well be his last as Liverpool don’t look set to extend the Brazilian midfielder’s contract. He has been used more in the centre of the Reds’ defence under Jurgen Klopp this season than in midfield, playing just 570 minutes in the Premier League after 29 matches.

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He is still only 30 and has a lot to offer any side who picks him up this summer. He appeared close to moving to Turkey last summer but if MLS sides want someone who can break play up in the defensive third, then there will be few better free options than Lucas in the coming months. The New York Red Bulls still have a void to fill following the departure of Dax McCarty in January and with a DP slot available, don’t be shocked to see them make a move for Liverpool’s longest-serving player.

Current wages: £80,000 per week
Possible MLS destination: New York Red Bulls

LA Galaxy prepared to blow Man United out of water with $18m contract offer for Ibrahimovic

LA Galaxy are prepared to prove they’re serious about bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to MLS this summer by making him the highest-paid player in league history, with an offer that would see him pick up a significant pay rise from his current Manchester United deal, according to the Express.

Ibrahimovic currently earns around £11 million per season at United, which equates to about £210,000 per week. However the Galaxy are reportedly offering the iconic striker a deal worth £15 million a year – £290,000 per week.

That works out as roughly $18 million per season, although with Ibrahimovic currently 35-years-old it is unclear how many seasons he’ll be offered on any potential deal with LA.

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What is clear is that as things stand Ibrahimovic will be a free agent for the second time in as many years come the end of June, as he is yet to put pen to paper on a one-year extension at United despite reportedly agreeing to earlier this season.

There is a good chance an agreement will be reached with the Red Devils before the end of the season, although his decision will likely be made easier once he knows where the club’s European commitments lie next season, as another year without Champions League football might not be deemed good enough.

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Kaka is currently the highest-paid player in MLS, earning around $7.1m a season with bonuses included. So Ibrahimovic’s deal would see him earn almost three times as much as the Orlando City star and make him the highest-paid player in league history by some margin.

The Galaxy have a Designated Player spot free for Ibrahimovic should he join, following the winter departures of Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard. Giovani Dos Santos and new signing Romain Alessandrini currently occupy two of the three DP slots.

Ibrahimovic has taken English football by storm since joining United last summer, scoring 26 goals in all competitions and firing the club to League Cup glory just a few weeks ago.

But with LA Galaxy looking very serious about a move for the former Sweden international and huge figures being thrown about, Ibrahimovic will surely be tempted to opt for the Californian lifestyle as soon as this summer.

Do you think we’ll see Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to MLS as soon as this summer?

MLS players reveal Man United striker would be best possible signing ahead of Messi and Ronaldo

Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be the best possible addition to MLS of all the names in world football, according to the results of an ESPN survey of more than 140 current Major League Soccer players.

The survey, which included players from 21 different teams, suggested that the Manchester United forward is the most-wanted man in MLS – for the players themselves at least – ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

New York City FC are the only MLS team who declined to participate in ESPN’s survey, which ensures anonymity for all those who take part in answering a wide range of questions.

On the topic of who they’d most like to see join MLS as the next Designated Player, Ibrahimovic came out on top with 22% of current MLS players naming him as their No.1 target.

The powerful striker has taken the Premier League by storm in his debut season in English football, despite being 35 years old, and could still move to MLS before he finishes his illustrious career.

He was heavily linked with a move stateside last summer when his PSG contract had expired, and although he chose to join up with Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, he has been quoted as saying he could see himself “conquering the U.S. as I have with Europe” in the past.

Ronaldo and Messi are two unsurprising names that MLS players also want to see jump across the pond, with the Barcelona man just edging the Madrid star in the voting.

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The likes of Neymar, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez are all names that cropped up as part of the poll, with the most-wanted stars listed below, based on the poll results:

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 22%
  2. Lionel Messi – 20%
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo – 17%
  4. Neymar – 6%
  5. Wayne Rooney – 6%
  6. Javier Hernandez – 4%
  7. Andres Iniesta – 4%

Ibrahimovic is currently only contracted at Man United until the end of the season. United appear to want to tie him down for another two years, but the striker is not believed to be keen on doing so, so we could yet see him plying his trade in MLS before the end of his career.

Would Zlatan Ibrahimovic be the best possible signing for MLS in world football?

What does Ibrahimovic’s three-game ban mean for Manchester United?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester United have today been handed a potentially major blow to their top four hopes, following the FA’s decision to hand the striker a three-game ban for an elbow on Tyrone Mings during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Ibrahimovic is facing the suspension for an elbow on Mings late in the first half of Saturday’s game. The Bournemouth defender is facing an even lengthier ban for a stamp on the United star a minute earlier, which prompted the aggressive response from Ibrahimovic.

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Both players have until Tuesday evening to respond to the charges, but there is very little chance of that, with both now facing at least three games out for violent conduct.

Ibrahimovic will miss next Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea, followed by Premier League games against Middlesbrough on March 19 and West Brom on April 1. However, the Swedish forward would still be available for Europa League matches in that time. United face Russian side FC Rostov away this Thursday, before the return leg at Old Trafford next week.

No United player has made more appearances this season than the age-defying Ibrahimovic, who has scored 26 goals in his debut season in English football. He has proven his doubters wrong by inspiring Jose Mourinho’s side over the course of the season and his absence could prove to be hugely costly come the end of the season.

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United are still stuck in sixth place in the Premier League, but are just three points off Liverpool in fourth, with a game in hand too. They will expect to take six points from the upcoming league fixtures against Middlesbrough and West Brom, but the loss of Ibrahimovic could throw their chances into doubt.

The frontman has scored or assisted almost half of United’s goals in the top flight this season, which highlights exactly how influential he’s been for the Red Devils.

United are unbeaten in 17 Premier League games and it’s no coincidence that Ibrahimovic has hit form during that time, scoring 11 of his 15 league goals during that stretch.He’s only missed five games in total so far this term, but none of those have been away from home. The only league game he missed saw United draw 1-1 at home to Arsenal.

It’s been over a year since Anthony Martial started a game up front, while Wayne Rooney’s days as an out-and-out striker appear to have ended a long time ago. That means Mourinho will more than likely look to Marcus Rashford in the upcoming games that Ibrahimovic will miss.

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Rashford has only scored three league goals so far this season, although he has only been handed 10 starts, coming off the bench in 11 more and often out on the left-wing.

United have not only lost their best goalscorer in Ibrahimovic, but also the man who links midfield to attack with his world-class hold up play.

As it stands, United are still in three competitions and only three points off the top four. If they are in the same – or an even better position – this time next month, then they’ll have done remarkably well without this year’s talisman.

How do you think Manchester United will cope without Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Does he deserve a three-game ban?