Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Ronaldo was better than Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. O Fenômeno won his third FIFA World Player of the Year prize after inspiring Brazil to 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ glory. Ronaldinho went on to lift that award twice, while the 31-year-old Portuguese is vying with Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi to become The Best FIFA Men’s Player for 2016.

When asked by ESPN Brasil which of the trio was superior, Ibrahimovic responded unwaveringly: “I think Ronaldo ‘Fenômeno'. For me he was an example of what football is. Everything he did was like ‘wow’. The way he dribbled, the way he ran, the way he scored goals, he was a genuine phenomenon.

“What he did, I don’t think anyone will do again. Because it was all natural to him, it wasn’t anything constructed. He wasn’t designed. Ronaldo was natural, he was born to be what he was. It wasn’t something he trained to become. This type of player isn’t built; he’s born. He is unique.”

“Ronaldinho was also phenomenal. We played together at Milan, but he wasn’t at his best like before. But I loved it when we played and he ran around with his hair all over the place, dribbling at speed. And when he wanted to, he made opponents look like children around him.

“As for [Cristiano Ronaldo], we didn’t play together. He is different, because he’s the fruit of a lot of training. He’s not natural.”

In iconic footage before a Milan Derby in 2007, Ibrahimovic was captured gazing admiringly at opponent Ronaldo. A superb goal from the Brazilian put AC Milan ahead, but the big Swede’s right-foot snatched Inter Milan a 2-1 victory.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player will be crowned at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ ceremony in Zurich on 9 January 2017.