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Vela: I’m better than Ibrahimovic right now

Carlos Vela and his LAFC teammates fell 3-2 on Friday night in the latest edition of El Trafico. Not only did LAFC lose to their rivals, the L.A. Galaxy, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic outperformed the Mexican playmaker.

Ibrahimovic stated leading up to the game that he is was the best player in Major League Soccer, despite Vela and LAFC sitting atop Major League Soccer. Vela’s brace in Friday’s defeat wasn’t enough to top Ibrahimovic’s hat-trick, but that didn’t stop the El Tri attacker from hitting back at the Swedish star.

“Comparing would show a lack of respect towards him, but if we look at the stats and forget age and whatever, I’m better than him right now, that’s the reality,” Vela said after the game.

“And in terms of the rest, he’s been Zlatan and only [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo] are better than him; the rest of us aren’t in the same league.”

Vela did set a new MLS record in the loss though, scoring his 21st league goal in his 20th appearance of the season. The 30-year-old has played a major role for Bob Bradley’s side in the club’s second season, totaling 33 points (21 goals, 12 assists) in 20 matches.

Although he will not be happy with his side losing on the road at Dignity Health Sports Park, which moves the Galaxy into second place and now nine points behind their in-state rivals. Ibrahimovic got the last laugh on Friday night, scoring a trio of wonderfully taken goals and let reporters know about their comparison of him and Vela after the match.

“Please do not offend me, I don’t need to prove nothing, even if I don’t score the goals today,” Ibrahimovic said.

“I have a lot of respect for Vela, he’s a good player, but you did one mistake, you compared him with me, that was your biggest mistake.”

Up next for LAFC is a home date on July 26th against Atlanta United while Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s Galaxy face Club Tijuana on Tuesday in the inaugural Leagues Cup.


  1. Zlatan is the best attacking player in MLS, no doubt. People come especially to see him play and less would come to see LAG play their team if he was not in the squad.

    Just like when T. Henry played; they come to see him play, not NYRB.

    Vela, not so much unless you’re Mexican.

  2. Love all the comments from the people that clearly only read the headline. You missed “And in terms of the rest he’s been Zlatan and only Messi and Christiano are better than him, the rest of us aren’t in the same league.”

  3. Hahaha who cares whats true – this feud is GREAT. The league needs a genuine rivarly. Ibra is such an entertainer, love that guy.
    Saw his 1st goal live on tv. Howd he get enough power and accuracy on that volley?

    Dont watch many MLS games (not anti, just dont have a fav team). But the few times ive seen Ibra, i watch and say, ah hes 37, just a figure head, as he is barely touching ball. And then he pulls out a ridiculous play leaving my jaw drop.

    Vela, cant deny numbers. 21 goals and 12 assists? Amazing.

    Just wish Ibra was had more than one season left. Who knows, he is a freak

  4. The fact that Vela can’t acknowledge what Zlatan has done in Europe and continues to do this season in MLS is comical. Vela is clearly not familiar with the “big fish, little pond” concept. Zlatan delivered consistently and emphatically at each stop in top leagues. Vela was a middling player on a middling La Liga team for 5 years. And now Vela is currently playing on a better team than Zlatan, so Zlatan is much more of a one-man show because he has to be.

    But that’s all good. This will only fuel Zlatan’s fire for the second leg of this year’s derby.

  5. This is a laughable statement. This tells me that Vela doesn’t know who Zlatan is. There was a joke in Italy years back that went something like this,…twenty teams compete in Serie A and play 38 matches over 9 months and then Zlatan Ibrahimovic wins the Scudetto.

      • I did read the article. Zlatan IS better than Vela right now. Furthermore, Vela will not have a career that is even close to Zalatan’s. Simple.

    • For one night he was better, Zlatan demands everything runs through him and thus he looks great when LAG wins and the team looks awful when they don’t because they have no plan other than force the ball to Ibra and then watch. As good as he was in El Traffico he was awful in both Cali Classicos. If you’re the best you should show up every night. Vela does that averages a goal and over half an assist every night. Career as Vela said not close but for this half a season not close.

  6. They are such different types of players that it is hard to make a comparison. Personally, I think Zlatan, as a goal scorer is exceeded by only Messi and Ronaldo and no one scores more spectacular goals. But if were picking a team, I would take Vela first because I think he is better all around because he’s a great playmaker and can play some defense, which Zlatan pretty much ignores.

    • I agree, Zlatan is spectacular and he will win some games for the Galaxy, but Vela does more than score by himself and I think he is actually more valuable. Neither team would be where they are in the standings without the two.

      It will be interesting if LAFC can find a way to contain Zlatan in the rematch.

  7. The sum of LAFC’s parts are what makes Vela better but individually no way! LAFC has a very complete team and excel when they can dictate tempo and trigger calls around the offensive third of the field. Head to head comparison Zlatan by a mile


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