Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Messi is 'one of a kind' while Ronaldo is not a 'natural' talent

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Messi is 'one of a kind' while Ronaldo is not a 'natural' talent

Published Dec. 30, 2016 12:24 p.m. ET

If there’s one burning debate in soccer that isn’t going away anytime soon, it’s the “Messi vs. Ronaldo” debate. And it appears Zlatan Ibrahimovic has waded into it and tossed some kindling on top to keep it going.

Ibrahimovic's thoughts? Well, he says Lionel Messi is so good that it’s like watching a PlayStation game ... while Cristiano Ronaldo is not a natural soccer talent.

"I think Messi is one of a kind. What he’s doing, I don't know if we will see another player do the things that he does,” Ibrahimovic told ESPN. "I had the luck to see him every day and I saw what he was doing everyday. Like 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.”

It’s high praise for Messi, who Ibrahimovic played with for the 2009-10 season at Barcelona. But when it comes to Messi's rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Swedish international’s comments were a bit more lukewarm.

The Brazilian Ronaldo, who predates the Portuguese Ronaldo, will be remembered as the better of the two Ronaldos, Ibra said.

"I think Ronaldo, Il Fenomeno, was the best,” he said in another interview this week. "He was an example of what football is. Everything he did was like ‘wow.' The way he dribbled, the way he ran."

"He was not made. Ronaldo was natural. He was born to be what he was. It was not something he trained to become.”

But CR7 just isn’t the same kind of talent, he added.

"It is different because he is the result of hard training,” Ibrahimovic said of Cristiano Ronaldo. “It is not natural.”

Ibrahimovic wasn’t asked specifically to weigh in on soccer’s most popular debate today and choose Messi or Ronaldo, but it seems like his choice it pretty clear. It makes sense though — Messi is the only player to score more goals than Ibrahimovic in 2016.



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