Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole/skysports.com

Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy has released former England International Ashley Cole.

The club said in a statement they had declined to exercise an option to re-sign Cole for the 2019 season.

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The 37-year-old, who was one of eight players released, signed for the MLS team in 2016 following a glittering club and international career that included stints with Arsenal, Chelsea and Roma.

Cole also won 107 caps for England between 2001 and 2014, making him the sixth most-capped England international of all time.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy confirmed that 16 members of their 2018 roster are due to return next season, including Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic’s future with the club had come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with reports in Italy linking him to a possible return to Serie A with AC Milan.

Ibrahimovic, who scored 22 goals in 27 games for the Galaxy last season, said earlier this month that he was optimistic of returning to Los Angeles in 2019, but wanted the club to challenge for silverware.

Galaxy missed out on the play-offs this year after finishing seventh in the Western Conference, one spot outside the play-off places.

“For me to return, I want to be able to challenge for the trophy,” Ibrahimovic said.

“I’m not here for a vacation. I’m here for the challenge. I want to feel I have a chance to be the best in MLS – my team, not me, because I am the best.”