Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Only One Will Feature at World Cup

Get ready for a showdown! - (Photo:

Great players make the game of soccer great.  The mastery of Cristiano Ronaldo is an absolute joy to watch, as are the incredible finishes we have seen by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  These are two of the world’s finest players playing at the peak of their abilities for major European clubs.  They have succeeded at every level of the game and typically lead their national teams to glory.  However, their respective countries Portugal and Sweden will square off in a playoff tie to determine who goes to the 2014 World Cup, meaning one of these superstars is set to miss out on an incredible experience.

The problem with these players is that they represent countries that are quite average on the global scale.  While both Sweden and Portugal are teams that typically qualify for these major tournaments, they rarely contend for the titles.  While these players are among the world’s best, the rest of their national teams are usually lacking.  This leaves them to be the primary playmakers for their countries.

Therefore, this 2-legged playoff tie will be a dramatic showdown between the two stars.  Who will make the necessary play to win the tie and become a national hero in the process?  It is a really tough nut to crack.  On paper, Ronaldo is probably the better player, and can do more for a team.  He has freakish ability on the ball and can terrorize a defense.  He scores goals galore for Real Madrid and is usually in a constant argument of who is the world’s best player versus Lionel Messi.

Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, while still an incredible goal-scorer, doesn’t have the same natural ability on the ball.  However, he has a knack for the unforgettable, as evidenced by this supreme goal against England several years ago:

Such works of magic cannot be denied, and if Ibrahimovic has another trick up his sleeve, Sweden could well be on their way to Brazil.  The PSG striker certainly knows how to score.

Another thing to consider is the players’ points in their career.   Ibrahimovic is 32, probably in the final years of his prime.  This could be his last chance to compete at a World Cup, where he has yet to score a goal.  While he has performed amazingly at several EURO Championships, his inability to perform on the world’s biggest stage is a black stain on an otherwise tremendous soccer career.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo is 28 and fully in the prime of his career.  His sights are probably set on winning the World Cup, especially as Brazil is a Portuguese-speaking nation.  He has won nearly every trophy that a man can, yet that elusive international glory still beckons.  For him to not be present at this tournament would be almost a travesty for the game.

So who will be featuring in Brazil?  While I want Sweden to prevail so that Ibrahimovic can have another shot at a World Cup goal, I feel that Ronaldo will reign supreme.  Portugal has the slightly better squad with guys like Nani and Pepe to help Ronaldo out.  Sweden lacks similar support.  I think Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic will shine in this playoff, both scoring a goal over the two legs, but that Portugal is headed for the World Cup next summer!



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