NEW YORK (Monday, November 12, 2018) – Major League Soccer today announced LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović as the 2018 MLS Newcomer of the Year. The award recognizes the year’s most impactful new MLS player, who has prior professional experience. Ibrahimović shone the brightest among a class of 200-plus star-studded newcomers that averaged 25 years of age and hailed from more than 40 countries.
Ibrahimović took the league by storm in his first year with the LA Galaxy, finishing the season with 22 goals and 10 assists in 27 matches played, becoming the third player ever to post a 20-goal, 10-assist season in MLS history. The 32 combined goals and assists by Ibrahimović meanwhile tie for the sixth most in league history. Ibrahimović helped the Galaxy to a 9-2-4 record in matches where he scored a goal, beating out fellow standouts for the award including English icon Wayne Rooney (D.C. United), Mexican National Team star Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club) and 23-year-old “Kaku” (New York Red Bulls) of the Paraguay National Team, among many others.
This season, Ibrahimović joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the third active player to score 500 goals for club and country with an incredible roundhouse kick volley against Toronto FC on Sept. 15, The feat adds to an already illustrious career that includes titles with European giants, including FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan, among others. The hulking forward experienced a tremendous international career with the Sweden National Team, ranking first in the nation’s history with 62 goals in his career while also starring in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.
The Newcomer of the Year Award recognizes players with previous professional experience but who are in their first year playing in MLS, which makes rookies ineligible for consideration. Similarly, players eligible for Newcomer of the Year are ineligible for Rookie of the Year.