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Zlatan explains tough second season at Old Trafford

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic at his most humble is still a man riding his ego through the clouds.

The LA Galaxy striker gave an interview to the BBC in which he detailed why his second season at Manchester United didn’t go according to plan.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Ibrahimovic, 36, said his “mind was ready” but his knee was not when he followed up a 28-goal, 10-assist debut at Old Trafford with just seven appearances with one League Cup goal.

From the BBC:

“When I was ready, I said to myself ‘I am not there’,” he said. “They had a Zlatan before. After, I was not ready to be that Zlatan. I was selected in many of the games but I told the coach: ‘Listen, I am not ready. I don’t want to disappoint you. The respect I have for my team-mates and the coach. Select someone else who can do the job better.’ I stood up and did it, even if I am Zlatan.”

How’s that for humble? There’s only one Zlatan…

Zlatan Ibrahimovic loses bet with David Beckham after England win

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The 22 players on the pitch weren’t the only ones with something at stake during Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal contested in Russia.

England ultimately captured one of the four places in the the next round of the competition, however, a bet between superstars David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had implications of their own.

Prior to the match, Ibrahimovic challenged Beckham to a straight-up bet regarding the victor of the game.

If Sweden were to win, Beckham would have to purchase an item of Ibrahimovic’s choice from store Ikea, while Ibrahimovic was asked to attend an England match donning a Three Lions kit if Beckham and his native land came out on top.

Following the England victory, Ibrahimovic took to social media, saying, “I’m coming. Congrats.”

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Beckham, Zlatan settle on England vs. Sweden bet

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Soccer superstars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham have struck a deal ahead of the World Cup quarterfinal game between their two countries on Saturday.

[ MORE: Belgium’s golden generation reaches World Cup semifinal ]

Ibrahimovic challenged Beckham via Instagram and the bet was relayed on the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Twitter account.

Beckham, the former England and Galaxy midfielder, accepted the risk of furnishing Ibrahimovic’s L.A. mansion — with a twist.

If Beckham’s team wins Saturday in Samara, Ibrahimovic must come to a future England game “wearing an England shirt and enjoy fish & chips at half time.”

MLS at Midweek: LA strikers firing at will

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Major League Soccer is laying claim to the Fourth of July, with the 2018 World Cup taken two days off before the quarterfinal round.

Beginning with Tuesday’s 9 p.m. ET match-up between red-hot Adama Diomande‘s LAFC and Houston, the league has a half-dozen midweek matches for your entertainment.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Here’s what to watch:

LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo — 9 p.m. ET Tuesday

The first ever match-up between these sides has a lot of firepower, none more than ex-Hull City man Diomande. The 28-year-old Norwegian has an almost absurd seven goals in his first five matches, and LA has three-straight wins. The Dynamo can climb back into the West’s Top Six with a win.

Minnesota United vs. Toronto FC — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday

Both teams have watched their playoff hopes get slimmer and slimmer, and both have been awful on the road. The good news for the Loons is that they are Wednesday’s hosts.

FC Dallas vs. Atlanta United — 8 p.m. ET Wednesday

The home side has lost just once since an April 29 setback, while Atlanta has fallen just three times this season. Dallas is one of just five teams unbeaten at home this season — one of whom, DC United, has played just twice in their home city — but the Five Stripes have bucked the trend of MLS teams struggling on the road, falling just once on eight away days.

Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders — 9 p.m. ET Wednesday

Once holders of a season left for dead, Anthony Hudson’s Rapids have taken seven points from their last three matches and can move to within a win of the Top Six with a win and help on the out-of-town scoreboard.

Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC — 10 p.m. ET Wednesday

Sporting lost for the first time since April 28 at the weekend, and stays on the road in a bid to bounce back against Mike Petke’s stubborn Rio Tinto bunch.

LA Galaxy vs. DC United — 10 p.m. ET Wednesday

Wayne Rooney won’t face off against former Manchester United teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the later is playing some fine football. Zlatan has six goals in his last four matches, finding form on the other side of the ocean from his Swedish World Cup compatriots.

WATCH: Zlatan bags third brace in four game, but Galaxy draw derby

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While one ex-Premier League striker was bagging a hat trick for one Los Angeles team, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was generating a highlight reel night for the other one.

[ MORE: World Cup roundtable ]

The LA Galaxy would blow its Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired lead in drawing rivals San Jose Earthquakes in a road Cali Clasico, but that doesn’t do much to alter the visual delight of a pair of goals for the big Swede.

Romain Alessandrini also scored for LA in the 3-3 draw, which leaves the Galaxy two points back of the West’s final playoff spot. Chris Wondolowski had two goals and Vako Qazaishvili scored for bottom-dwelling San Jose.

Ibrahimovic, 36, needed less than a minute to bang home his first of the night, a rising rip 59 seconds into the game.

Ibra was certainly aided by the goalkeeper on the second goal, his worm-burning low free kick sliding inside the near post.

It still looked nice.