VIDEO SPECIAL: I'm better than Rooney! Ibrahimovic oozes confidence

23 February 2009 03:57
Recently voted player of the year by his peers in Serie A and declared a better performer than Cristiano Ronaldo by his manager Jose Mourinho, Inter Milan centre forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has much to live up to when Manchester United [LNB]lay their European crown on the line at the San Siro on Tuesday night.[LNB]On this occasion the Swede with the Eastern European name will perhaps be required to play up to his star billing if Mourinho is to extend his remarkable winning record against Sir Alex Ferguson over the course of this intriguing Champions League tie.[LNB]A quick trawl through YouTube will soon present you with some stark examples of Ibrahimovic's remarkable gifts. [LNB] Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will pose Manchester United's biggest threat in their forthcoming Champions League tie [LNB]Marvel, for example, at his aerial back-heel goal for Sweden against Italy in Euro 2004.[LNB]VIDEO: Zlatan's brilliant back-heel...[LNB][LNB]Look, too, at the impudent manner in which he used to fool defenders during his early, care free days at Ajax in the early part of the decade.[LNB]VIDEO: A Dutch masterpiece for Ajax...[LNB][LNB]Ibrahimovic was happy to talk up his big reputation when he spoke with Sportsmail last week. [LNB]According to the27-year-old, Mourinho is superior to Ferguson as a coach and he will prove himself better than United's attacking triumvirate of Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov over the next two weeks.[LNB] Strictly X-rated! After Nolan's challenge on Anichebe, here are some other football moments that left us wincing[LNB]Gallery: The special magic of the European Cup[LNB]Raging Ronaldo: Why was I booked for diving when Pederson escaped?[LNB]Man United 2 Blackburn 1: Ronaldo lets fly to see off Rovers[LNB]MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB[LNB][LNB]Confidence has certainly never been a problem to a player once dubbed 'half ballerina, half-gangster' by the Italian media.[LNB]VIDEO: Here's just why in Italy he's known as the fancy dancer...[LNB][LNB]Nevertheless, cut through the bluster and the internet highlight reels and you find a striker who does not always strike on the big occasions; one who has been known to fail when club or country have really needed him.[LNB] Despite an impressive domestic scoring record, Swedish international Ibrahimovic has been less prolific in the Champions League [LNB]'I could spend a long time arguing against this theory but I know that some people will not listen to my reasoning,' responded Ibrahimovic when the idea was put to him last week.[LNB]'All I will say is that there is much more to come from me.[LNB]'In this round I really do want to show everybody that I am one of the best strikers in Europe and one of my burning ambitions is to win the Champions League and win the Golden Boot for being Europe's top scorer at the same time. [LNB]'Maybe that would settle the argument.'[LNB]Ronaldo has had to listen to similar accusations, of course, as did United icon Eric Cantona as he tried — and failed — to lead the club to Champions League heights in the Nineties.[LNB]But in Ibrahimovic's case some basic statistics appear to lend the theory credence.[LNB]Prior to the 2006 World Cup, England coach Sven Goran Eriksson predicted that the tournament would identify his countryman as the best player in the world.[LNB] Ibrahimovich says Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho is a better boss than Sir Alex Ferguson[LNB] Ibrahimovic didn't score a single goal.[LNB]It was a similar story two years before when a missed penalty in a shoot-out contributed to Sweden's exit against Holland and although the maturing forward did score twice in last summer's Euro 2008 tournament to end a two-year international drought, his Champions League record is moderate at best.[LNB]In three seasons and 20 European appearances for the Italian champions, Ibrahimovic has scored just six times. [LNB]Compared to his record of 46 goals in 76 Italian league appearances for his club, it is disappointing.[LNB]'In the short term I would love to score against Edwin van der Sar and end this incredible record that he has got,' said Ibrahimovic. [LNB]'That would be a good start to ending all this talk.[LNB]'The fact that nobody has scored against him for so long is incredible and if I can do that it won't put me on the back pages of the newspapers, I would be on the front page.'[LNB]Ibrahimovic was once pulled into the office of Fabio Capello, when the current England coach had the striker in his squad at Juventus, and made to watch the goals of the great Marco van Basten.[LNB] Strictly X-rated! After Nolan's challenge on Anichebe, here are some other football moments that left us wincing[LNB]Gallery: The special magic of the European Cup[LNB]Raging Ronaldo: Why was I booked for diving when Pederson escaped?[LNB]Man United 2 Blackburn 1: Ronaldo lets fly to see off Rovers[LNB]MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB[LNB][LNB]'Van Basten is my perfect striker and he was one of my idols when I was a child,' reflected Ibrahimovic.[LNB]'It is true that Capello made me watch his videos but even today I am still a humble pupil. [LNB]'All I want to do is score goals and do my bit for the team. That is really all that matters.[LNB]'Tall and rangy — just like Van Basten — Ibrahimovic's career began in Sweden, where he was born to a Bosnian father and a Croatian mother, and his route to Milan took him via Ajax and Juventus.[LNB]Successful domestically wherever he has been, his self-professed humility would nevertheless be contested by many who have dealt with him.[LNB] Ibrahimovic was in Serie A action against Bologna during the weekend[LNB]In reference to Norway striker John Carew — now at Aston Villa[LNB]— he once said: 'What he can do with a football I can do with an orange.'[LNB]He also threatened to go on strike if Juventus refused to sell him in the wake of their demotion to Serie B on match-fixing charges in 2006.[LNB]Under Mourinho, though, he has been impressive.[LNB]Only one goal has come so far in the Champions League but he has scored 14 times in 23 league games and the feeling in Italy is that the former Chelsea[LNB]coach has made him more effective against the kind of physical defending he will encounter from United on Tuesday night.[LNB]'Mourinho is a better coach than Ferguson,' claimed Ibrahimovic.[LNB]'Ferguson has much experience and I respect him but Mourinho is superior in lots of ways.[LNB] Ibrahimovich wants to prove he is better than United strikers Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov[LNB]'Mourinho has really inspired me and I am prepared to fight against the United defenders. [LNB]'This style of game is actually preferable because from a physical point of view I will never take a step back.[LNB]'I am always ambitious and I want to show myself better than Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov. [LNB]'They are two sensational forwards but I want to be better than this pair.[LNB]'In some ways, this is the game that should have been the final.[LNB]'These two teams are the best in Europe and it's a shame that one of them has to go out at this stage.[LNB]'United may be champions of Europe but we are champions of Italy and I warn them that they are about to suffer.'[LNB] Strictly X-rated! After Nolan's challenge on Anichebe, here are some other football moments that left us wincing[LNB]Gallery: The special magic of the European Cup[LNB]Raging Ronaldo: Why was I booked for diving when Pederson escaped?[LNB]Man United 2 Blackburn 1: Ronaldo lets fly to see off Rovers[LNB]MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB[LNB][LNB]VIDEO: Ibrahimovic's top 10 goals...[LNB][LNB] [LNB] 

Source: Daily_Mail