Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a reputation for being arrogant and extremely self-confident. He has referred to himself as ‘God’ on numerous occasions in the past and believes he’s one of the greatest footballers ever.
However, there is one football legend that Zlatan will happily bow down to: Ronaldo Nazario.
The Brazilian icon, who was arguably the world’s best striker in the late 1990s and early 2000s, won a host of individual and team honours throughout his illustrious career before hanging up his boots in 2011.
A two-time World Cup winner, Ronaldo is best remembered for his spells with Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
The South American had a brief stint with AC Milan after leaving Madrid in January 2007 and, although he was past his best by this point, still managed to score nine goals in 20 appearances.
Ronaldo is Zlatan's hero
So when he saw his hero prior to kick-off in a Milan derby, the charismatic Swede couldn’t take his eyes off him.
Check out the video here…
And this week, Zlatan was able to spend some time with his hero. The 39-year-old posted a photo of them together on Twitter…
What has Zlatan said about Ronaldo?
"I think Ronaldo was phenomenal," Zlatan told Manchester United’s official match programme, United Review, in 2016.
"He was the player that whatever he did it became…'wow'! He could do a difficult thing and it became magic.
"He would take the ball and it was like him saying 'I'll take care of it now'. You didn't have that kind of football player before and you don't have it today. He doesn't exist.
"As a young player I watched him and said to myself 'I want to be exactly like that'… the player who makes the difference, the shining light, simple as that."
Earlier this year, meanwhile, Zlatan stated his belief that Ronaldo is the greatest footballer of all time.
"I don't need to describe Ronaldo, 'The Phenomenon’,” he told Discovery Plus.
"I always say you have the players that play the game, and the players that are the game. For me, Ronaldo is the game. When you watch him play, everyone wanted to play like him and become like him.
"The way he was moving, the way he did his stepovers, the way he did 'the snake'. The way he was moving, for me he's the greatest player through history, no doubt."
And in 2019, Zlatan caused a stir when asked if he will find the real Ronaldo (referring to Cristiano) in Italy.
“None of it!” Ibra responded, per AS. “There is one Ronaldo, the Brazilian!”
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