Cristian Pavón Will Motivate Zlatan Ibrahimović to Stay With The Galaxy
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The Galaxy recently signed Cristian Pavón. The signing was a soap opera with both teams at going back and forth on negotiations. Luckily for the Galaxy, they got away with high way robbery and were able to acquire him on a free loan.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and The LA Galaxy teamed up to announce the official signing of Pavón in a true Hollywood fashion. The Maestro Pavón was announced which is a fitting name because in Spanish el maestro translates to teacher. So is Pavón here to school the MLS?
Zlatan Ibrahimović is also visibly critical of the MLS. He believes it is hard to create a winners mentality when players only have to aim to make it to playoffs. On his opinion of the MLS format, Zlatan stated, “I think the system is shit. That’s the way it is because you talk about mentality. For me, mentality is every day.” Though Zlatan is probably only being Zlatan and speaking his mind, many fans have wondered if this is an omen of something worse to come.
Who is Cristian Pavón?
The 23-year-old played for Club Atlético Boca Juniors, and during negotiations had caught the interest of many European teams including Arsenal. Pavón represented the Olympic team and Argentinian National team at various levels. In 2018, at the World Cup, Pavón started alongside Lionel Messi. Pavón is an impressive player known for passing and cutting; however, he has had minor issues with hamstring injuries in the past. As Galaxy fans know too well, injuries have plagued the team, so it is hopeful that injury will not pose a barrier for him now that he is healthy.
The move to Los Angeles reunited him with his former coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto (GBS). Pavón performed his best under GBS and during his first press conference, he discussed his happiness with the reunification. He stated that in Argentina, GBS helped him achieve his top form and he wants to demonstrate his level of skill again. It is hopeful that Pavón will move the Galaxy in the right direction.
Pavón’s signing takes some of the pressure off of Zlatan. One of Pavón’s gifts is that he is versatile. Because he is known for cutting inside and passing, he could be pivotal in getting the ball to Zlatan, something that the team has struggled with. After Alessandrini’s injury, the team had long periods of brilliance, followed by periods of questionable plays and effort.
Inconsistency Is The Theme This Year
Zlatan is a reporters dream. When they ask questions, he answers without filters. Reporters ask questions that provoke him at times; one area that he has commented on is related to his teammates’ drive. He stated that the Galaxy play inconsistently and that inconsistency might represent who they are as a team, but he believes that this might be as a result of the playoff system in the MLS.
In Europe, every game has the intensity of a final because every game counts. There is no playoff system in Europe. The team with the most points wins the League. Although every game in the MLS technically counts, there is more flexibility because the top 7 in each conference make it to playoffs. Zlatan’s words on the playoff system may seem harsh and some have taken it to mean that he is fed up with the MLS.
Zlatan is also unhappy with the quality of the officials. At the MLS All-Star game, he spoke with Howard Webb the general manager of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) to push for better officiating. This confrontation was seen as bold, as many players would not have the confidence to walk up to Webb and discuss this matter.
The Hunt For The Lion
Although Zlatan is one of the most popular players in the MLS, he has been under scrutiny. Already suspended once this season, a most recent and sensationalized incident with LAFC’s Mohamad El-Munir had LAFC staff, fans, and players upset with the Swede. Zlatan was not suspended for the incident, but the push for discipline has left the Swede with one eyebrow raised. Why is everyone so critical of every action he engages in?
According to Zlatan, “I feel like I am hunted. But when you are the best, you’re hunted.” Even head coach Schelotto believes that video assisted replay (VAR) should be utilized to help even the playing field against unfair calls against Zlatan. How much can Zlatan take and what changes could be made to make him happier in the MLS.
For one, some pressure needs to be taken off of Zlatan. When he doesn’t play, the Galaxy have difficulty scoring goals. Now that a versatile number 10 has been signed, it is hopeful that Zlatan will get the plays he needs to score. Pavón should be able to take shots and when Romaine Alessandrini is back, the trifecta will be complete. It is hopeful that the signing of a new player will also take eyes off of Zlatan as all eyes will now be on Pavón, thus cutting Zlatan some slack.
Zlatan has recently praised Pavón stating that he is a difference-maker. In the most recent win against FC Dallas, Pavón, Jørgen Skjelvik, and Zlatan connected well to score the first goal and change the pace of the game. The Galaxy eventually went on to win the game.
After the game, Zlatan stated that Pavón was too good for the MLS and should be enjoyed because his days in the MLS may be numbered. It is clear that the Lion is a fan of his new teammate. Zlatan likes his team and likes his city; let’s hope that he will continue to do so as the season progresses.