It has been 12 years since David Beckham absconded to Los Angeles from Real Madrid, in the name of bringing soccer to the forefront of American sports fans' consciousness. (Hey, he tried.) There were only 13 teams in Major League Soccer then, attendance was roughly 16,770 a game, and the LA Galaxy (shocker) were the most valuable franchise at $100 million. In that decade-plus in MLS, the era of the Designated Player, few if any have been as prolific as The Lion, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Designated Player Rule -- a stipulation that each team can acquire up to three players whose salaries don't count against the team's salary cap beyond the league's max budget charge of $504,375 -- was enacted to draw marquee global stars to America.