Swede lays down challenge to his great rival from Portugal.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has claimed that “the World Cup needs Zlatan more than Ronaldo” ahead of Sweden’s clash with Portugal on Friday to determine which of the two superstars will be going to next summer’s tournament in Brazil, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
The two European nations meet in the first leg of their Fifa World Cup playoff in Lisbon’s Stadium of Light on Friday, before the decisive return match in Stockholm on Tuesday evening, with only one of either Ibrahimovic or Real Madrid playmaker Ronaldo set to be on the plane to Rio next year.
However, Ibra has now tried to raise the stakes significantly ahead of the two eagerly anticipated contests by stating that fans at Brazil 2014 would rather, if given the choice, see the Swede in action as opposed to the Portuguese.
“I think that the World Cup needs Zlatan more than Ronaldo,” said Ibrahimovic.
“The excitement I can bring to the game and the goals I can score – nobody can rival me for that. I believe the fans would want to see me there above anybody.
“I respect him as a player – there is no question he is one of the best.
“The World Cup is the greatest sporting competition in the world – it needs to have the best players. If Ronaldo, or Neymar, or Rooney, or Messi, or Xavi is missing then it is a shame for the competition – and it is a shame for the World Cup that one of myself or Ronaldo will not be in Brazil.
“I just need to make sure I do everything over the next two games to make sure that it is him who misses out and not myself.”
Ibrahimovic is currently enjoying a sensational season in attack for the big-spending Ligue 1 champions, with the 32-year-old having registered 14 goals and five assists in total in just 15 matches in all competitions for the Parisians, including eight strikes and four assists in only 11 league outings.
And the Swede also caught the eye of late when hitting the back of the net four times in a Uefa Champions League group-phase fixture with Belgium outfit Anderlecht, one of which was a contender for Goal of the Season.