Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: When Zlatan Ibrahimovic Settled the GOAT Debate

Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: When Zlatan Ibrahimovic Settled the GOAT Debate

Martin Moses
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:26 PM
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C. Ronaldo
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Z. Ibrahimović
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  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic will always be considered as one of the greatest strikers of his generation
  • Ibrahimovc has lit up the various leagues he has played in, winning multiple trophies along the way
  • He was once quizzed to reveal who he would rather have on his side between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is widely known for his bullish nature on the pitch and in press conferences. The Swedish striker often tells off opponents and match officials and never shies away from challenges.

Lucky for him, he has always matched his big talk with impressive displays on the pitch as well. Currently at AC Milan, he has refused to hang his boots despite injury issues at 41.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo Nazario, GOAT
Veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo by Francesco Scaccianoce.
Source: Getty Images

He will go down as one of the best strikers of his generation. His major undoing, apart from not winning the Champions League, will be to have played in the same era as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

How Messi and Ronaldo compare to other players

The two stars elevated football levels to greater heights that it didn't matter how many goals you scored, how you scored it or who you scored it against; you would always play second-fiddle to them. Just ask Franck Ribery in 2013 or, better yet, Wesley Sneijder in 2010.

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Ibrahimovic's best finish came in 2013 when he finished fourth, but like any other person out there, he is alive to the fact that Messi and Ronaldo are on a class of their own.

Asked to choose who was the better player between the two, Ibrahimovic sided with Messi, who recently 'completed' football by guiding Argentina to the FIFA World Cup last season.

"The two are very strong. It would be a difficult choice. If I have to tell you, I choose Messi because I've played with him, I've seen him up close and I know that everything he does is for nature. He's not built. It's all movement, all-natural," as quoted by the Sun.

Ronaldo Nazario

However, the AC Milan striker fell short of outrightly declaring Messi as the Greatest of All Time. In his eyes, the Brazilian Ronaldo deserves the gong.

"For me, Ronaldo is the 'Phenomenon'."

Ibrahimovic played with Messi at Barcelona for one season and tried to emulate Ronaldo Nazario as a kid. He recently returned from a long layoff and will be hoping to help AC Milan rediscover their form after a shaky start to the calendar year.

Beckham's pick

Sports Brief had earlier reported that Beckham was the latest star to weigh in on who’s better between both superstars.

In an earlier interview with ESPN Argentine via Tribuna, the Manchester United legend admitted that the Argentine was in a class of his own.

"It has to be Messi,” Beckham said. I love Leo for many different reasons. I love him because he’s a great father. I love him because he’s a great personality, a character. He’s a great person."

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)