What’s the story?
Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has remarked at how extraordinary a footballer Lionel Messi is, describing his abilities as “one of a kind”. The Red Devils’ top scorer, who spoke to ESPNFC, showered plaudits on the Argentinean superstar and compared his qualities to that of a PlayStation player.
— IjebuloadedNG (@IjebuloadedNG) January 1, 2017
Ibrahimovic described his experience of playing with Messi, stating, “I had the luck to see him every day, I said before, it’s like playing PlayStation: You give the ball to the guy and you start to go through every player and that’s who Messi is.”
The forward, who doesn’t shy away from any controversy, lauded Messi as he said, “I think Messi is one of a kind. I don’t know if we will see another player do the things that he does because he has his style and to become that player, I don’t think it’s possible.”
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Ibrahimovic has been in prolific form this calendar year having scored 50 goals in all competitions for PSG and Manchester United. However, he is still one short of Messi’s tally of 51 goals.
The Swede, however, will get an opportunity to go clear of the Argentine if he manages to score a brace in the Red Devils’ next game. United face Middlesbrough with Aitor Karanka going up against his former colleague, Jose Mourinho. The duo have been friends since their Real Madrid days and this will be the first time that both of them will face-off against each other.
The heart of the matter
The 35-year-old Swede continues to be one of the most enigmatic forwards in the world. Speaking about Messi, the Swede described how both of them have chosen different paths and styles of play.
The Swede was magnanimous in his tribute to the Argentine stating confidently that Messi would have been a hit all around the world, “I’m the one that went around and conquered different countries; he’s the one who has stayed in one place for many years and has been amazing. If he can do it there, he can do it anywhere because he’s that kind of player that loves football, he loves the game so much [that] he wouldn’t have trouble performing like he is doing in Barcelona, worldwide.”
Zlatan will look to continue his scoring form as United welcome Middlesbrough to Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve. While their attack finally seems to have clicked, the 35-year-old feels that it was United’s solid defence that helped extend their unbeaten run to 12 games.
Manchester United now have the chance to extend their winning run to five consecutive games, something that will help them in their bid to secure a Champions League spot.
As far as the Swede’s assessment of Messi’s talents goes, Ibrahimovic isn’t too far from the truth. As for the Manchester United striker himself, he knows he has the chance of ending the year on a high on a personal note, if he does beat the Argentinean’s goal tally.
However, given the defensive record of Boro, who have only conceded 10 goals from 9 fixtures this season, the Swede knows he has his task cut out for him.