Zlatan Doesn’t Hold Back In Criticizing Carlos Vela Ahead Of El Tráfico

Tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. CT on ESPN, the LA Galaxy hosts Los Angeles FC in the fourth edition of El Tráfico. The early days of the Los Angeles Derby have been largely dominated by two players: LAFC’s Carlos Vela is the rivalry's top scorer with four to his name, but the Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimović is right behind him with three, including that unforgettable brace on his MLS debut. 

The story of the season so far has been LAFC. The club is threatening to run away with the Supporters’ Shield while Vela is the league’s MVP frontrunner with 19 goals and eight assists in 19 appearances.

However, the Galaxy, third in the Western Conference, are still formidable opponents, and Zlatan has 13 goals and three assists in 16 games. 

Based on the first 20 games of the season and the accompanying stats, there’s really no argument over who’s the best player in MLS right now. But do you really think Zlatan agrees? Hell no.

Here’s his response to that question from ESPN’s Herculez Gomez.  

First things first, Carlos Vela isn’t 29 — he’s 30. And the question wasn’t “who was better at 30, you or Vela?” but still, this is exactly the sort of shade we like to see thrown in the buildup to tomorrow. 

Obviously it’s a bit disingenuous to Vela, who spent 12 years playing in Europe, including a hugely successful stint at Real Sociedad. During a three-year period there, Vela and Antoine Griezmann formed one of the deadliest strike partnerships in Spain. 

If you’re curious as to where Zlatan was at 30, he was beginning his second season at AC Milan following his ill-fated transfer to Barcelona. Shockingly, Zlatan won no major trophies at the age of 30 before departing for PSG . . . let’s not get into a Ligue 1 vs. MLS argument. 

Anyway, we’ve got another piece of Zlatan greatness in the buildup to El Tráfico: Here’s the 37-year-old talking about the one thing on everybody’s mind right now — Area 51 of course.   

Don’t miss Zlatan vs. Vela tomorrow on ESPN Friday Night Fights. 

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