LOS ANGELES • Major League Soccer (MLS) was rebranded MLZ on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Instagram page on Saturday, but even the larger-than-life footballer could not have written a better script on his debut.
The 36-year-old made his first Los Angeles Galaxy appearance off the bench, having flown in on a 10-hour flight on Thursday. He took just six minutes to announce his arrival.
The 71st-minute substitute lashed home an imperious volley from 40 yards to make it 3-3 against Los Angeles FC (LAFC) at the StubHub Centre.
The Swede then headed home Ashley Cole's cross in stoppage time to seal a 4-3 win for the Galaxy in an extraordinary finale that lived up to the hype surrounding the striker's arrival from Manchester United.
"If you look back, every team I played for, I scored in my first official game. I wasn't going to let that stop today," said the former Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain star.
"I heard the crowd saying 'We want Zlatan, we want Zlatan'. And I gave them Zlatan."
LAFC had surged into a 3-0 lead early in the second half after two goals from Carlos Vela and an own goal from Daniel Steres.
But, by the end of the game, Vela was a footnote, Ibrahimovic the headline even if Sebastian Lletget and Chris Pontius also scored for the Galaxy.
Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid hailed Ibrahimovic's first goal as "world class" .
"Ibrahimovic is the perfect definition of a guy who always dares to be brilliant," the German said.
"If you do that, you can pull off things. That's a goal that will go around the world."
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE