Zlatan Ibrahimovic lights up MLS with 'perfect hat-trick' in LA derby

Jul 19 2019 Carson CA USA LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his goal during the second half against the Los Angeles FC at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 19 2019 Carson CA USA LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his goal during the second half against the Los Angeles FC at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Ibrahimovic, who earlier in the week had described himself as being "like a Ferrari" in a league full of "Fiats", produced the goods in the derby match between his LA Galaxy side and Los Angeles FC - a match known to fans Stateside as "El Trafico". The 37-year-old scored the flawless hat-trick against local rivals Los Angeles, scoring with his left foot, right foot and head.

"Comparing would show a lack of respect towards him, but if we look at the stats and forget age and whatever, I'm better than him right now, that's the reality", Vela said. He scored two goals a year ago in his Galaxy debut last March, which was also the first-ever meeting against LAFC, and has six goals in four matches against Bob Bradley's team.

Ibrahimovic has scored 16 times in the 2019 MLS season - five fewer than Vela - but his 58 percent goal contribution for the Galaxy eclipses the 38 percent offering from LAFC's Mexican frontman. "29", Ibrahimovic said via ESPN.

The decorated marksman stoked the flames prior to the match, declaring himself "far" better than LAFC forward and Major League Soccer top scorer Carlos Vela after reporters tried to compare the pair.

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Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

Ibrahimovic then gave the Galaxy the lead in the 56th minute when he rose above Jordan Harvey to head Diego Polenta's cross into the back of the net.

LAFC suffered only its third loss in 21 games and had its lead in the Supporters' Shield race and Western Conference reduced to nine points.

The former Paris Saint-Germain, Milan and Inter striker completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes to play as he dribbled to the edge of the area, before rifling into the bottom corner. When I go out there, I know what I'm able to prove.

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