As far as marquee franchises are concerned in major league soccer, it doesn’t get much better than the LA Galaxy. They play their home games in one of the most desirable cities in the United States, and they always seem to attract top players.
Who are the seven best LA Galaxy players of all time? It’s a hard list to pinpoint exactly, but these players all stand out for what they were able to accomplish with their team.
7. David Beckham
- Position: Right Midfield
It was a big day for the league when David Beckham crossed the pond and suited up for the LA Galaxy.
After having a superb career at the highest levels of soccer, the LA Galaxy offered him a deal he could not refuse. Even in the twilight of his career, he was able to make an impact on and off the pitch.
Beckham is mostly known for winning two MLS Cups during his run with the franchise. He only scored 20 goals in six seasons, but a lot of that’s due to a few different injuries during his tenure.
He was an important signing for the LA Galaxy, and they remain a marquee franchise because of him.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimović
- Position: Centre-Forward
Putting Zlatan Ibrahimović on this list might be controversial in the eyes of some, but his dominance once arriving in the United States landed him a spot right back in the upper echelons of European soccer. Even at an advanced age, Ibrahimović dominated the MLS in his mid to late 30s.
Scoring 53 goals and 58 matches, other teams in the league couldn’t figure out a way to stop him. Unfortunately, the teams weren’t that great around him. They never made the playoffs with the Swedish star on the team.
Seeing that he still has something left to prove, AC Milan brought him back on to finish out his professional career. He didn’t stay long in Los Angeles, but he put the league on notice.
5. Mauricio CienfuegosEmbed from Getty Images
- Position: Attacking Midfield
Cienfuegos was a creative playmaker for the Los Angeles Galaxy during his tenure with the club. He was named to the Best XI three times, Serving as a steady contributor during the early years of MLS dominance. He finished with one MLS Cup when playing for the franchise.
A very small player from El Salvador, many wondered if he would be able to excel in the MLS when the Los Angeles Galaxy signed him. He never showed a ton of promise as a goal scorer with other professional teams, but they gave him freedom and he made the most of it.
4. Carlos Ruiz
- Position: Centre-Forward
The 2002 season for Carlos Ruiz alone would likely land him on this list. He won the MVP and Golden Boot with relative ease, scoring 24 goals for the team. He then added eight more in the playoffs, which included the winner in extra time to win the MLS Cup.
A prolific goal scorer in the league during his relatively short run, he finished with 62 goals from 2002 to 2004 (and 2008). The long-time Guatemalan National Team member played for a handful of MLS teams, but he never found the type of success he had with the Galaxy.
3. Robbie Keane
- Position: Centre-Forward
MLS teams have a hard time landing successful designated players. A lot of signings have a ton of fanfare at the beginning, but they don’t exactly meet expectations. Players lack motivation when coming over to the United States at the end of their career, hoping for a payday and not much else.
Keane is one of those pleasant exceptions, as he starred for the Galaxy from 2011 to 2016. He scored 104 goals in 165 matches, proving that he still had plenty left after making the move to the United States.
Winning an MVP in 2014 added him to the short list of all-time greats in MLS history. He was a consistent member of the MLS Best XI, and most general managers are still trying to find more Keanes to bring over at the end of their careers.
2. Cobi Jones
- Position: Right Winger
Another long-time contributor for the Los Angeles Galaxy is Cobi Jones. Most fans of United States soccer know him as the most capped player in national team history. He also happens to be the all-time leader in appearances for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Like nearly every player on this list, Jones won an MLS cup with the team. The midfielder was very happy to call Los Angeles home, as he played his college soccer at UCLA. He even went on to work for the coaching staff a few seasons after retirement.
1. Landon Donovan
- Position: Second Striker
Not only is Landon Donovan the face of the franchise, but he might be the face of Major League Soccer. He won two MLS Cups for the franchise, as well as three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles.
Sticking with the team for around a decade, he’s all over the record book for creating offense. He was named the MLS Best XI six times with the team, but his best season came in 2008. Winning both the MVP and Golden Boot, he solidified himself as one of the best players in United States history.
Is LA Galaxy the Most Star-Studded Franchise In MLS History?
It can be argued that the Los Angeles Galaxy is the stand-out club in Major League Soccer. They have the most MLS Cups with five, and they’ve made a total of nine appearances in the MLS Cup final. They’ve also won four Supporter Shields, two U.S. Open Cups, and one CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Name recognition has always been part of the appeal of the franchise as well. It all started with David Beckham in 2007, as he came over after playing with Real Madrid. Zlatan Ibrahimović, Robbie Keane, Steven Gerard, Ashley Cole, Javier Hernandez, and Luis Hernandez are just some of the other well-known names who played for the franchise.
Calling Los Angeles home definitely has its advantages. They are one of the most valuable teams in the league, and international stars are very much familiar with what the city offers. They have a built-in advantage against the rest of the league, and they’ve used it wisely for close to three decades.