LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said Mexico youth international Efrain Alvarez is "dominating training" at the club and said his advice to lose weight at the end of the season might be one of the reason.
The Sweden legend made headlines last weekend when he heaped praise on the 17-year-old and Ibrahimovic doubled down on the statement on Wednesday, two days out from the Galaxy's California Clasico rematch against San Jose Earthquakes after losing to their rivals on June 29.
"[Alvarez] just needs to get game time because that is what he is missing now," Ibrahimovic told reporters in Los Angeles. "He's training with us, he's dominating in the trainings."
Alvarez made an assist for Ibrahimovic's opener in the Galaxy's 2-0 win over Toronto FC in his first start in MLS and the striker was adamant that the dual U.S.-Mexico national has talents that can't easily be taught.
"He's a player that thinks football and they are the better players because the guys that plays football, they are trained to play football, the guys that thinks football are made to play football, that's a big difference," said Ibrahimovic. "And that's why I've seen in MLS that he is by far the biggest talent from anybody because he thinks football. He has that football in him and it's natural."
Ibrahimovic also had some advice at the end of 2018 that he believes has improved the East Los Angeles native this season.
"[I first trained with him] last year, I didn't say nothing to him, I just said 'You need to lose five kilos before you come back,'" said Ibrahimovic. "That's the only thing. And he came back losing that and he was a totally different player."
Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto suggested Wednesday that Alvarez could be in line to keep his starting spot for the game against the Earthquakes on Friday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Alvarez, who has played for El Tri's U17s, is still eligible for the United States, but recently stated he would like a call-up to Gerardo "Tata" Martino's Mexico squad.
"Who doesn't want to be in the national team?" asked Alvarez. "If one day 'Tata' [Martino] or whoever is there at that time gives me the opportunity, I'll be available and really happy."