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Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels like he is being “hunted” after escaping punishment for catching Mohamed El-Munir with his elbow during the Los Angeles derby on July 19.
Per ESPN FC, the striker, who scored a hat-trick in LA Galaxy’s 3-2 win over LAFC at Dignity Health Sports Park, was given a formal warning for the clash with El-Munir but was not sanctioned:
ESPN FC @ESPNFC
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given a formal warning by the league’s Disciplinary Committee for elbowing Mohamed El-Munir in last Friday’s game vs. LAFC. https://t.co/xyvFsdLkW1
Ibrahimovic responded by saying he feels as though he is not treated the same as other players in the league, per ESPN FC:
“I feel like I am hunted. But when you are the best, you’re hunted. That I feel a little bit hunted in that way, that is not OK, because I play my game and I need to feel free in my game and not feel after the game [that] people will look at me and look [at the] detail at everything I do.
“Because that is not part of the game. We have a referee, the referee does his thing. If it goes beyond that, I understand, we have this Disciplinary Committee, but [what is] worse than [being] reviewed every game? I’m professional like everybody else. I should get treated like everybody else. If they cannot stop you on the field, that’s it, you cannot do nothing about it.“
Ibrahimovic, 37, joined LA Galaxy in 2018 and has netted 38 goals in just 44 MLS matches.
With 16 goals in 17 appearances this season, he is second in the scoring chart behind Carlos Vela, who has netted 21 goals:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Zlatan Ibrahimović in MLS this season:
• 17 games
• 16 goals
• 3 assists
A perfect hat-trick in the LA derby included. https://t.co/menr2SaPIL
The Galaxy sit second in the Western Conference, nine points behind LAFC and two points ahead of Seattle Sounders in third.
It is a boost for the Galaxy that Ibrahimovic has not been sanctioned because he could have been banned for up to two games.
The incident with El-Munir took place in second-half stoppage-time and left the Libya international on the floor in some pain.
Ibrahimovic had his eyes on the ball when the pair rose to challenge for a ball, but he his arm was outstretched, and he caught El-Munir in the face.
Per ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle, the 27-year-old is undergoing surgery on the injury he suffered in the clash and is set to miss at least four weeks of action as a result.