Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he is better than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

As Ronaldo prepares for his second Man Utd debut, Ibrahimovic claimed to be “the best in the world” and says he is only behind the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in terms of trophies

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  • 05:30, 11 Sep 2021
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he is "the best player in the world" – insisting Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are ahead of him in terms of silverware but not ability.

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Ronaldo will make his hotly-anticipated second debut for Manchester United on Saturday, while Messi also made a huge move this summer when he joined PSG after leaving Barcelona.

The two players widely regarded as the best on the planet have carved up 11 of the last 12 Ballon d'Or awards between them, with Messi leading on six while Ronaldo is one behind him.

Ibrahimovic has never won the prize, despite having been nominated 11 times – but says: "If anything it’s the Ballon d’Or that is missing me."

Never short on confidence, he believes he is the best in the world, saying he has just as much quality as Ronaldo or Messi.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes he is the best in the world
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Image:
SIPA USA/PA Images)

“If we are talking about intrinsic quality, then they have nothing more than me," Ibrahimovic told a press conference, cited by Football Italia.

"If we consider trophies, then yes, I didn’t win the Champions League."

Asked about the Ballon d'Or, Ibrahimovic said: “I don’t know what criteria they use to decide who gets the award, because I am not obsessed with it.

"When a collective works, the individual inevitably benefits from that. An individual cannot do well if the team isn’t solid.

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“Deep down, I do think that I am the best in the world.”

Ibrahimovic is set to make his first appearance of the season for AC Milan against Lazio on Sunday, having recovered from a knee injury which kept him out of Euro 2020.

He turns 40 next month but is still going strong, and signed a new contract earlier this year which will keep him at San Siro until the end of the current season.

While he recuperated from his injury during the summer he visited the Brazilian Ronaldo, who likened the Sweden star to man 10 years younger than he is.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have carved up the Ballons d'Or between them
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Image:
UEFA via Getty Images)

"He came to visit me in my holiday home in Ibiza," said the 1994 and 2002 World up winner. "A fantastic day, we had fun, we talked a lot, about football and more. He arrived with his family, with his very good children."

Ronaldo added: "Ibra is very strong, the years don’t count for him. He’s a rock, he has a body of a 30-year-old, not 40. He will guarantee the usual results because he knows how to manage himself like a super professional."

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