Although there is strong competition from legends of old such as Pele and Diego Maradona, many believe Messi and Ronaldo have raised the bar to new heights this century.
Between them, the Argentine and the Portuguese boast 11 Ballons d’Or, nine Champions League titles, over 1,400 goals and countless other team and individual honours.
AC Milan veteran Ibrahimovic played alongside Messi at Barcelona for a short spell and now faces off with Juventus striker Ronaldo in Serie A.
The Swede has followed the duo’s careers closely but finds neither of them capable of matching the skill of Brazil legend Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo, El Fenomeno. He’s the best of all time,” Ibrahimovic told the Discovery Channel, per Marca . “For me, that Ronaldo is football, the way he moved. He’s the greatest player in history, without a doubt.”
Ronaldo won two World Cups with Brazil and enjoyed a stunning club career playing for the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan.
Ronaldo retired from football at 34 whereas Ibrahimovic is still going strong at 39, and the Milan frontman had some words of caution for the younger generation.
“Today young players play five minutes and are seen as great,” added Ibrahimovic. “I’m glad to be from the old school.
“Social networks have changed everything, and players are seen as champions now despite having done little.”
Do you agree with Ibra’s verdict? Have your say in the comments.
Ibrahimovic has also been quizzed on who he would pick out of Messi and Ronaldo many times throughout his decorated career.
In 2013, he told CNN : “Messi’s a natural and Ronaldo’s a product of training.”
But in 2019, Ibrahimovic was less conclusive as he spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport , saying: “I admire Cristiano, he works very hard and has played everywhere but in Italy it’s different, I’m not surprised that he scores less than before.
“About Leo, what to say? He has a unique talent and is at home. For me, he will never change teams.”
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