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Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he will only play on artificial turf in the playoffs


Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a few headlines when he sat out the LA Galaxy’s match in Seattle last weekend, and now he has spoken up about his thoughts on artificial turf.

Speaking to ESPN, Zlatan said that he didn’t want to play on the man-made surface because of the knee injury that kept him sidelined for most of last year at Manchester United.

“But by playing on turf, I risk to get damage,” he said. “I don’t say I will get injured — I don’t know; I could get injured also in normal games — but the consequence is everywhere, the risk is everywhere. The risk is higher on the turf.”

Ibrahimovic has played on turf once this season. He came on as a late game substitute in the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers on the road on June 2. He said the experience  “felt very bad” and chose to skip the match in Seattle. He also sat out an away match against the New England Revolution, the MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta, and a U.S. Open Cup match against the Timbers.

The Galaxy have one more regular season match on turf this season. They travel to face Minnesota United on October 21, their second-to-last game of the year. Ibrahimovic probably won’t play in that one, but, if the Galaxy make the playoffs and they have to play at Portland, there’s no way he misses out.

“With all the respect for turf, for Portland and the stadium, which was a fantastic atmosphere, if I could play I would play every single second,” he said. “But it’s not about that I don’t want to play, it’s about me — I don’t want to take the risk to get damaged if it’s not life or death.

“But if it’s the playoff and we go there, I will go there and I will destroy them. If I get injured, f— it, I get injured. I will take the risk because we are in a different situation.”


  1. i love you guys for speaking up about this. this battle will be a tough one for us because you know turf saves the owners money, they won’t willingly spend more for grass. we might have to fight for grass but it will only work if we fight together.

    • zlatan’s knees are more important to me than the stadium owners’ profits or the result of the galaxy’s playoff games. and it would be nice to hear don garber say the same words. yes?

  2. If I’m paying his contract I’ve got a big issue with this unless this was pre-negotiated.

    On the other hand, I hate watching games on turf. The ball doesn’t role correctly and just looks like a crap product compared to watching a game abroad on an immaculate pitch. Its sort of like the difference between watching golf on TV at Augusta National and some crap amateur tournament that didn’t water the greens enough. It looks bush league.

    One last thing, I also hate seeing that black rubber pellets getting kicked up every step or kick a player takes while watching my Five Stripes. I remember playing on few fields with these rubber pellets/material whatever its called great for reducing impact but this stuff gets inside your shoe like sand on the beach. I remember having to take my shoe off mid game to dump it out.

    • If I were paying his contract, I’m 100% in agreement with his decision. You have a lot invested in him and missing an occasional game is okay if it extends his career. At his age another serious knee injury and his next step is likely retirement.

  3. Agreed. Playing on turf sucks. Watching a game on turf sucks. I also can’t deal more than 10 mins when games are on it. I’ll change the TV to something else. There is no reason good it exists in places like Portland and fans should in Seattle should be more vocal as well. For all the good about that franchise and ATL it still leaves a sour taste.

  4. At some point, this will be a huge issue that MLS must address. Right no we it’s one of the biggest road blocks that the league has and it’s only going to get bigger as the league continues to grow and attract top level talent.

  5. Playing on turf sucks, watching football on turf is something I can’t stomach. When a Sounders/Portland/Atlanta home game is on tv, I just switch the channel.
    Say NO to fake turf. It’s beyond me how Sounders fans have been duped into watching their team play on subpar surface for many years now…

  6. I wish more players would be vocal about this stance. Playing on turf sucks. Watching games on turf sucks even more.

    The. Ball. Never. Stops. Bouncing.
    Boycott flubber. And boycott NFL stadiums.

  7. “But if it’s the playoff and we go there, I will go there and I will destroy them”…. I will never get tired of this guy….

    • Agree. You have to admire his competitive spirit and dedication to winning. One thing has surprised he is a lot more unselfish than I had expected and his passing and hold up play are exceptional. I used to think of him as only a scorer and while he doesn’t play much defense, he is a more complete player than I realized.


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