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Milan hoping to woo “great champion” Zlatan next week

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Serie A mainstays AC Milan are trying to woo Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the San Siro.

The full-court press makes sense, as it will take some financial sacrifices for Ibrahimovic to join the side given Financial Fair Play problems in Milan.

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Coach Stefano Pioli called Zlatan “a great champion” while admitting he has to focus on the table and not transfers, while former AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani issued a glowing call for the Swede to return to town.

From Football-Italia.com:

“It would be romantic if he returned. But I have a rule, I don’t talk about teams I’m not involved with anymore. I’m only a fan of Milan now. Still, his arrival would enrich Italian football, similar to when Cristiano Ronaldo came to Italy.”

Man, they know how to speak this guy’s language, don’t they?

Sky Sports says Ibrahimovic’s agent will meet with Milan again next week in the hopes of convincing him to take a lower wage deal, and the 38-year-old showed he’s willing to take one for the team during his stint with the LA Galaxy.

The move makes too much sense, with Milan’s 11 goals well below its expected goal number. They need a finisher, and Zlatan sure does that. And if lower wages means Zlatan gets to play mercenary for five months while proving he’s got the goods for a big wage for 2020-21, that’s an easy concession for the striker.

LA Galaxy extend Pavon loan another year

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The LA Galaxy announced on Monday that star attacker Cristian Pavon will remain with the club next season, extending his loan through the 2020 MLS campaign after agreeing to a deal with his parent club Boca Juniors.

The 23-year-old Argentinian made a splash when arriving to the Galaxy in early August, helping push the club to an appearance in the quarterfinals of the MLS Cup Playoffs. He scored three goals and assisted eight more in 11 regular season matches, plus another goal in the playoffs.

Pavon’s arrival was of the utmost importance for the Galaxy as they looked to make up for a sub-par defense that conceded goals in waves. His presence will be even more critical next season as the Galaxy are without goal hawk Zlatan Ibrahimovic who left the club this offseason.

Terms of the extension were not released, but it was confirmed that Pavon will occupy a Designated Player slot for the upcoming season, alongside fellow DP Jonathan dos Santos. Romain Alessandrini was the third DP on the club, but his contract expires this offseason and no resolution to that has yet been announced.

Pavon was a regular for Argentina during the 2018 World Cup but has not been a regular since, missing from the 2019 Copa America squad and not among the players for the current international break. He has 11 international caps in total, yet to score a goal.

Must-See Goal: Mexico U-17’s Efrain Alvarez

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Efrain Alvarez wasn’t ready for Mexico to exit the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the semifinals with a defeat to the Netherlands.

Down a goal in the 79th minute, the LA Galaxy attacker curled in a beautiful free kick over the wall and in for a goal to tie the score at 1-1. It was Alvarez’s third goal of the U-17 World Cup as Mexico has progressed to the semifinals for the second time in the last three tournaments. Though Alvarez had his shot saved in the penalty kick shootout later in the game, Mexico progressed, 4-3 past the Netherlands to make it to the U-17 World Cup final.

Alvarez, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, has played for both U.S. Soccer and Mexico youth teams in the past, and has left the door open to play for either country in the future. Playing in a World Cup for Mexico though puts U.S. Soccer behind the eight ball when it comes to his recruitment, however.

Watch Alvarez’s sweet free kick below.

Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan

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A day after Zlatan Ibrahimovic left LA Galaxy, the representatives of the Major League Soccer giants are reportedly in Paris trying to sign his replacement.

Edinson Cavani.

The Uruguayan forward, 32, has missed most of this season through injury and with Mauro Icardi arriving on loan from Inter Milan, his days at the Parc des Princes could soon be up with Thomas Tuchel’s attack already stacked as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel di Maria are all battling for minutes.

Cavani’s contract is up in the summer of 2020 but it is believed the Galaxy want him to arrive in January and replace a Zlatan-sized hole in their attack.

Our partners at Sky Sport in Italy say that one of their reporters was meant to speak with officials from the LA Galaxy but it was cancelled at the last minute as they were heading to Paris to talk about signing Cavani.

It had been reported that “El Matador” was going to move to Inter Miami CF ahead of their arrival in MLS in March, but it appears the Galaxy could now nip in ahead of David Beckham’s new franchise.

Would Cavani rip it up in MLS? Absolutely. He’s scored 195 goals in 288 appearances for PSG and when he’s the central striker, he makes things happen and is a clinical finisher. When Zlatan was at PSG he was shunted out to the wing but those days are long gone.

Would Cavani replace Zlatan at LA? Nobody can truly replace Zlatan, but you could argue that Cavani would be an upgrade. He is more mobile than the departing 38-year-old and although he doesn’t quite have the same penchant for the spectacular that Ibra has, he would knit the Galaxy’s offense together a little better.

Over the past 12 months we saw that Zlatan could conjure something out of nothing to score spectacular goals, but did he make the Galaxy a better team overall? The jury is still out on that as they stumbled in the MLS Cup playoffs this season and didn’t make them last season.

Be it in LA or Miami, it appears Cavani is heading to MLS for the 2020 season. And that is good news for anybody watching MLS.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says goodbye to the LA Galaxy

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has bid adieu to Major League Soccer, thanking the LA Galaxy for “making me feel alive again.”

The Swedish superstar averaged nearly a goal per game with the Galaxy, and was rumored to be in line for another two years at the club.

[ MORE: Columbus acquires Nagbe ]

Perhaps those reports, and maybe AC Milan’s struggles to score goals, have made more suitors come forward. Time will tell.

The Galaxy said the decision was a “mutual parting of ways” and thanked the player for his work both on and off the pitch.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

Zlatan’s full thoughts, below, were a bit more Zlatanny.

Klein will have his hands full in replacing Ibrahimovic, who scored 52 times in 53 matches, but the Galaxy have always managed to bring in big names.

Getting a star playmaker is even more important as El Trafico rivals LAFC have rewritten the MLS record book and snared plenty of attention in California and across the league.