5 Things Zlatan Ibrahimovic Does Better Than Cristiano Ronaldo

Alex RichardsContributor INovember 14, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 05:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG in action during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint Germain and RSC Anderlecht at Parc des Princes on November 5, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

The two footballing behemoths do battle for a place at the 2014 World Cup over the next five days, as Sweden and Portugal vie for a spot in Brazil next summer.

Unquestionably, the two respective skipper's will be vital to their team's chances, with Sweden looking towards Ibrahimovic for brilliance in the final third and Portugal looking towards Ronaldo.

Therefore, here's a look at five things that Zlatan Ibrahimovic does better than Cristiano Ronaldo.


Leading to success

It is rather amazing that between the pair of them, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic have just one Champions League winners medal (from Manchester United's win over Chelsea in Moscow 2008).

But on a team basis, there is no one in world football who has ever led so many different teams to success as the man known as Ibracadebra.

No matter where he's beenMalmo, Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale, Barcelona, Milan and PSGit's only been so long before the Swede has become THE crucial player to each of those sides, the go-to guy who makes a difference and wins league titles.

Having been a winner at Real Madrid and Manchester Unitedtwo perennial league favouritesyou could argue that Ronaldo, on a team level, is a by-product of success; For all his greatness, he has the perfect platform to achieve it, certainly in Madrid.

With Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, you could argue (Barcelona exempt as that side was already evolving) that given the level of success he's experienced at each and every clubmany of whom encompassed some really quite average players and subsequently struggled to make a dent on the Champions Leaguesuccess is a by-product of Zlatan.


Zlatan: The great team player

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 06:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden in action during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group C match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Aviva Stadium on September 6, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Gett
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

For all the ego and the focus on his individual brilliance, what is often forgotten about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the incorrigible maverick, is that he is in fact a phenomenal team player.

Certainly, he isn't a guy who runs 100mph for an entire game, hassling opponents and working the full length and width of the pitch: the guy's 6'5" and built like a tank, it's simply something he's not made to do.

But with his technical quality, his mental strengthnot many guys can consistently be expected to carry teams without it becoming too much for themand his vision on the field, Ibrahimovic is a phenomenal team player.

He brings the best out of those around him and has done consistently for the better part of a decade.


He can't be unsettled

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal in action during the international friendly match between Portugal and Croatia on June 10, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Mentally, Cristiano Ronaldo is phenomenal. It's widely acknowledged that there are few more footballer's dedicated to their art and personal improvement than the Portuguese star: “Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest example in the world of professionalism, the sense of perfection and ambition,” says Jorge Valdano, as per MTN Football.

However, there is a school of thought that you can unsettle Ronaldo prior to big matches. His Spanish colleagues at Real Madrid have come up against Portugal's No. 7 at Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup and avoided talking to him or recognising his presence in the moments immediately before the game, believing it can unnerve him (as per The Telegraph's Ian Hawkey).

Ibrahimovic, however, is so mentally strong, so certain and decisive about himself, that he simply cannot be unsettled in such a manner. He can laugh and joke before kick-off, or he can just as easily do the ignorance thing; it doesn't matter.

Sure he's tempestuous on the field, but the 32-year-old knows that it's all about him. If he plays well, there's little outside forces can do to deny him. It's a big reason why he's reveled in his role as the man to carry his side, whichever side, over the years.


The subtle dissection

While Ronaldo has grown into perhaps the greatest bludgeoner of opposing defences on the planetconsistently powering through teams with goals, goals and more goalshis Swedish counterpart has matched the ability to power through sides (granted not to the same level) with subtle moments of genuine outrageousness.

For all the displays of raw physicality and power shooting from the PSG striker, every so often, he takes supporters breath away with the kind of deft touches and goals that few other players (if any) on the planet can even think of.

Witness his Euro 2004 goal against Italy, the potential Puskas winner against England and his recent backheel volley against Bastia for Le Parisiens.


At being Zlatan

We've all heard the story about Zlatan not getting his wife anything for Christmas because she already has Zlatan.

And we've all heard many other crazy stories about the Swedehis autobiography, I Am Zlatan, is choc-a-bloc with them, from telling Pep Guardiola he has "no balls" to laying out Jonathan Zebina.

Then, there's the time he asked a female reporter who was questioning his sexuality by inviting her and her sister to his house to show them who's gay.

You simply don't get these kind of stories with Cristiano Ronaldo.


Twitter: @AA_Richards