Zlatan Ibrahimovic Says Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus Move Is 'Not a Challenge'

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2019

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 10: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus looks on during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo and Juventus at Mapei Stadium - Citta' del Tricolore on February 10, 2019 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Former Juventus striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Turin as a great transfer for Italian football, but he believes it is not a challenge for the Portugal international.

Ronaldo has described the switch as such, but Ibrahimovic told video streaming service DAZN (h/t Football Italia) he disagrees:

"I didn't say his transfer wasn't great.

"I said that it wasn't a challenge to join Juventus. It's not a challenge to go to one of the best teams in the world.

"Maybe it depends on what you mean by challenge. For me, a challenge is joining a team and taking them far. That's a challenge.

"In any case it's a great signing for Italian football because thanks to him, my second home of Serie A has grown."

Those comments echoed similar―but harsher―quotes that circulated on social media in January, although Football Italia later stated the comments were fake:

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Ronaldo left Real Madrid on the back of a third consecutive Champions League trophy for an Italian adventure in the summer, joining a club chasing their eighth consecutive Serie A title.

He has hit the ground running for the Bianconeri, per WhoScored.com:

His contributions have helped Juventus build a double-digit lead in the domestic league already, and barring an incredible meltdown, the club will cruise to another title.

The 37-year-old Ibrahimovic spent two seasons with the Old Lady, winning the Serie A title in each campaign. Both were rescinded as a result of the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, however, and the Swede opted to leave the club for rivals Inter Milan when the Bianconeri were demoted as punishment.

He also spent time at Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United before signing for MLS side L.A. Galaxy last year. In his debut campaign with the club, he scored an impressive 22 goals in 27 games.

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his penalty kick goal during the Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS match against Vancouver Whitecaps at the StubHub Center on September 29, 2018 in Carson, California.  The Los Angel
Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Ibrahimovic discussed this year's Champions League, expressing hope one of his former clubs can win it:

"This year is very open. There isn't a team who are better than all the others or a favourite. Maybe one of my old teams will win: PSG, Manchester United, Juve or Barcelona.

"Unfortunately Inter have been eliminated, while Milan aren't there. There are four teams and I hope one of them win it."

PSG and Manchester United were drawn against each other in the round of 16, with Les Parisiens winning the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford. Barcelona and Juventus will be in action on February 19 and 20, facing Lyon and Atletico Madrid, respectively.