Zlatan Ibrahimovic's take on artificial pitches is just classic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
On the same weekend that LA Galaxy fell to a crushing defeat to Seattle Sounders, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was busy meeting Ed Sheeran.
Ibrahimovic did not travel with his teammates to CenturyLink Field, not because he's the biggest Sheeran fan in the world but because he refuses to risk his body on artificial playing surfaces.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) August 19, 2018
The Swedish centre-forward clearly did not enjoy his experience on Portland's pitch when he came on for a 20-minute substitute appearance on June 2.
Ibrahimovic, who has 15 goals in 19 appearances since his Stateside switch, has made it clear that he doesn't like to play on artificial surfaces at this stage of his career and has avoided games in both New England and Seattle since moving to Major League Soccer.
The 36-year-old is not completely against the idea of playing on fake pitches but he has revealed the only scenario that he will risk injury on artificial surfaces in classic Ibrahimovic fashion.
"Why I don't play on turf? Because I'm able to play now, I push it every time I put the shoes on, when I walk on that grass, when I can feel the smell of that grass, when I can touch the ball, when I feel like I can shoot the ball like I want to do it, I'm just happy. And I want to still be happy," Ibrahimovic told ESPN FC.
"But by playing on turf, I risk to get damage. 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. And I tried to play on the turf in Portland, and I felt very bad.
"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. 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, fuck it, I get injured. I will take the risk because we are in a different situation."
Six of the 22 MLS teams play on artificial surfaces of various types: Seattle, Portland, New England, Atlanta, Minnesota and Vancouver.