Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has named Brazil legend Ronaldo as ‘the best player in history’.
Ibrahimovic expressed his admiration towards the World Cup winner ahead of Milan’s Europa League clash with Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night, while putting him ahead of modern-day greats such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time list of top players.
The 39-year-old thinks Ronaldo Nazario, who inspired Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002, transcended the game with his unique talents and still stands out as the unrivalled master of the footballing craft to this day.
Zlatan told Discovery Plus: “I don’t need to describe Ronaldo, ‘The Phenomenon’.
“I always say you have the players that play the game, and the players that are the game. For me, Ronaldo is the game. When you watch him play, everyone wanted to play like him and become like him.
“The way he was moving, the way he did his stepovers, the way he did ‘the snake’. The way he was moving, for me he’s the greatest player through history, no doubt.”
Ronaldo began his professional career in his homeland with Cruzeiro in 1993, and went on to play for PSV, Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid, Milan and Corinthians.
The Brazilian forward scored 296 goals in 452 matches in total, while also winning three FIFA World Player of the Year awards and two Ballons d’Or – the first of which saw him enter the record books as the youngest ever winner of the prize at 21.
Ronaldo was almost unstoppable during his spells at Barca and Inter, and he helped Brazil reach the World Cup final in 1998 before scoring eight goals in the 2002 World Cup to fire the Selecao to their fifth title.
Ronaldo then joined Real Madrid at the height of the club’s ‘Galactico’ era, and ended up staying at Santiago Bernabeu for five years – the longest spell at one club in his entire career – securing one La Liga crown along the way.
Ibrahimovic doesn’t have as many individual gongs to his name as Ronaldo, but he has amassed more major silverware at club level than the former Madrid star managed.
Ronaldo only won 13 trophies over the course of his 18-year career, while Ibrahimovic has already won 31, including league titles in Holland, Italy, Spain and France.
The veteran Swede’s scoring record also holds up against his footballing idol’s, with over 500 goals recorded from almost 800 appearances across all competitions during his 21-year spell in the game.