Best of the Rest: Ranking the top 5 players of the Messi-Ronaldo era
The argument as to who is the greater player between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is one that we will continue to have for time to come.
Never in the history of the sport have two players dominated the scene like these two gladiators, sharing titles and accolades. In fact, the last person to win football’s biggest individual prize not named Messi or Ronaldo was Brazil’s Kaka in 2007.
This has led to an intense argument as to who has been the THIRD best player in the world of the Messi/Ronaldo era.
While we have seen a lot of very good (Cech, Falcao, Aguero, Lewandowski, Lampard, and co) and world class players (Suarez, Ramos, Torres, Neymar, Drogba, Busquets, Chiellini among others) in the Messi/Ronaldo era, 2008 to the present, the five chosen ones have stood out for reasons of consistency, delivery on big occasions, importance to their teams and being dependable whenever they have been/were called upon.
#5 Zlatan Ibrahimovi?
The walking, talking ego machine, Zlatan Ibrahimovi? is a player who has succeeded at every club he has been to winning league titles in every country he has played in (except in England where he is in his second season).
Zlatan, as he is simply called, has bestrode the football terrain like the physically imposing giant he is and talent wise is not too far off the dynamic duo of Messi/Ronaldo.
The giant Swede is good in the air, possesses a ferocious shot and in addition to his incredible finishing, possesses the footballing intellect, vision and abilities to create chances for other players as well.
He metaphorically carried the Blågult or The Blue-Yellow as the Swedish national team is known for years before finally announcing his retirement scoring 62 goals in 116 games.
Perhaps the biggest failing of his career has been his inability to win the UEFA Champions League (or even make an appreciable impact, to be honest) in the competition. His record of 49 goals in 123 appearances for six of Europe’s leading clubs (Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and now Manchester United) is not too shabby.