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Top Players To move to the MLS from Premier League

Zlatan MLS

For years soccer has played second fiddle to gridiron, basketball, baseball, and hockey in the US. However, the game has steadily been growing in popularity, particularly since the formation of Major League Soccer (MLS).

With the standard ever-improving combined with the lucrative salaries, some MLS clubs are willing to pay; several high-profile players have left the English Premier League to ply their trade in the US and Canada.

This page looks at our top four MLS picks who made an impact in Major League Soccer.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome” read the ad in the Los Angeles Times on the 23 March 2018. Having played for several of Europe’s most prestigious clubs, including Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona, both Milan sides, PSG and most recently Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had arrived at the Galaxy, and what an impact he made.

Even at 36 years old, he proved that he was still one of the very best strikers in the world. Zlatan made 56 appearances for LA in his 18-month spell, scoring 52 times. Despite falling short of leading his side to MLS Cup glory in 2019, his legacy will live on for many years to come.

2. David Beckham

Manchester United legend, Beckham, joined LA Galaxy in 2007 by way of Real Madrid. Arguably, Becks (as he’s commonly known in England) was – and is still – the most high-profile foreign player to grace MLS.

He spent five seasons with Los Angeles, where he experienced both highs and lows. In 2009, he secured a loan deal to Milan so he could retain his fitness; however, this meant missing the start of Galaxy’s MLS season. The fans didn’t hold back in venting their frustration and anger at the player. Beckham weathered the storm, and in 2011, he helped the Galaxy win the MLS Cup. This success was repeated the following year, which was his last season with the club.

3. Wayne Rooney

Rooney, England’s and Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer made the switch from the Premier League to D.C. United in 2018. He initially penned a three and a half year contract, although he only remained with the club for 18 months.

Wayne Rooney made a total of 52 appearances during his spell at D.C. United, and he notched up 25 goals and 15 assists in that time. He helped to guide D.C. to the MLS Cup play-offs, but his side was defeated in the first round by Columbus Crew SC.

4. Bradley Wright-Phillips

Bradley started his playing career with Premier League side Manchester City before moving to Southampton, Plymouth, and Charlton. After a loan spell at Brentford, in 2013, he made the move to New York Red Bulls, where he went on to make 195 appearances in seven seasons, scoring 108 goals.

Wright-Phillips hit the ground running and scored 27 goals in his first full season with the Red Bulls. As a two-time MLS Golden Boot winner, he is still New York’s record goalscorer. In 2020, Wright-Phillips moved to Los Angeles FC where he’s now scored 8 goals in 18 appearances. While not the biggest name to have played in both England and the US, he has an MLS record that will be talked about for years to come.

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