How much money did Zlatan Ibrahimovic turn down to sign with the LA Galaxy instead of going to China? A whopping $97 million, I’m told.
According to Jovan Kirovski, the LA Galaxy technical director who did the most work to sign Ibrahimovic, the big Swede had a multiyear offer from China even after his knee injury that would have paid him $100 million total. Instead Ibra chose the Galaxy, which can only pay him $3 million over two years since he’s a TAM player on a team whose Designated Player slots are all filled.
Kirovski said the hardest part of the deal was explaining to Ibra’s superagent, Mino Raiola, why he could only pay Ibra $1.5 million a year. Raiola’s first response was: “Are you serious?” But Ibra in the end decided he didn’t need the money at this stage of his career. Kirovski swears, by the way, that there aren’t any side deals from Galaxy sponsors to sweeten the pot for Zlatan.
Kirovski said he first made contact with Ibra while the player was still with PSG, and in total he met with Zlatan a half-dozen times in Europe (in Paris and Manchester) and on additional occasions in Los Angeles to build a relationship. Four months ago, Kirovski said, Ibrahimovic told him the Galaxy deal was going to happen.