Cristiano Ronaldo stooped to conquer in Lisbon, heading the goal that gave Portugal a slender advantage going into the second leg of their FIFA World Cup™ qualifying play-off against Sweden. Fellow star-attraction Zlatan Ibrahimovic was reasonably subdued throughout the evening, but the giant Paris Saint-Germain forward has the chance to display his remarkable talents in Solna in the second leg on Tuesday. We compare the two talismanic players' incredible statistics ahead of that crucial game.
Ibrahimovic: 1.95 metres
Ronaldo: 1.86 metres
The Swede is an imposing figure on a football pitch, standing head and shoulders above most defenders. His technique does not suffer though with Co Adriaanse, his then-coach at Ajax remarking in 2001: "He really has good technique. You don't see that very often with tall players. Probably because of the bigger distance between the brains and the feet." Ronaldo is not short by any means, but it is his physique that makes him stand out, with Jose Mourinho once saying he has "the body of an animal."
Ibrahimovic 46 in 95 appearances (0.48 goals per game)
Ronaldo 44 in 108 appearances (0.4 goals per game)
After Friday's play-off, both players are now three goals behind their country's record goalscorer. Ronaldo is closing in on Pauleta's record, while Ibrahimovic will be hoping to catch up to Sven Rydell in Solna on Tuesday. They both opened their international account in 2004. Ibrahimovic scored the only goal in a friendly against England in March of that year, while Ronaldo grabbed a late consolation at UEFA EURO 2004 against eventual winners Greece in a 2-1 defeat for the hosts.
Domestic (top five leagues) and UEFA Champions League goals since 2004/05
Ibrahimovic 208 goals
Ronaldo 304 goals
Since the 2004/05 season, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic have played in one of the top five ranked European leagues (England, Germany, France, Spain or Italy), along with the Champions League. In that time, Ronaldo has scored more than anybody in league and Champions League matches, while Ibrahimovic is third in that list behind Lionel Messi. In three of the four seasons since his move to the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo's goalscoring rate has been a goal per game or better, while Ibrahimovic picked up the Ligue 1 golden boot award in his first season in France in 2012/13.
World Cup finals goals
Ibrahimovic: 0 in 5 appearances
Ronaldo: 2 in 10 appearances
The Swede has yet to score at a World Cup, having appeared at both the 2002 and 2006 tournaments. It has to be remembered that Ibrahimovic played only half of the group matches across both tournaments, as a raw 20-year-old reserve in Korea/Japan and struggling with a groin problem in Germany. Ronaldo's World Cup goals have both come in the group stages. He grabbed the second in a 2-0 win over Iran in 2006 and grabbed the sixth in Portugal's 7-0 demolition of Korea DPR in 2010.
Career cost in transfer fees
Ibrahimovic: £143.5m (Average £23.9m per transfer)
Ronaldo: £92.2m (Average £46.1m per transfer)
Cristiano Ronaldo famously smashed the world record transfer fee when he moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009 for an astronomical £80m, having moved to Old Trafford for just over £12m six years earlier, making him one of the most expensive teenagers in English football at the time. Ibrahimovic has made a series of high-profile expensive transfers with Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain paying approximate fees of £14m, £21m, £61m, £21m and £18m respectively. Due to this succession of big-money moves, Ibrahimovic holds the record as the most expensive player of all time in terms of total transfer fees.
Major trophies (excluding single-game competitions)
Ibrahimovic boasted a remarkable record of finishing top of every domestic league he played in between 2003 and 2011, and has won titles with five different sides across four countries, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup with Barcelona. Ronaldo has forged his reputation at two different sides, building a remarkable legacy at Manchester United. He won eight of his major trophies at Old Trafford, including the 2008 Champions League and Club World Cup. He wrestled the La Liga title away from Barcelona in 2012 and, it must be remembered, is still 28 years old.
Ibrahimovic: 1 win, 4 draws, 3 defeats
Ronaldo: 3 wins, 4 draws, 1 defeat
Their first meeting was momentary, in an international friendly in Portugal in 2004. Ronaldo was introduced as Ibrahimovic was withdrawn and the game finished 2-2. Since then, the pair have played in the same game twice more at international level, a goalless draw in 2008 World Cup qualifying and the play-off first leg in Lisbon on Friday. Ronaldo’s United drew with and beat Ibrahimovic’s Inter Milan in the 2008/09 Champions League Round of 16, with ‘CR7’ grabbing a goal in the second leg. Ibrahimovic scored the only goal of El Clasico in November 2009 in his solitary victory over the Portuguese forward. The pair met on the continental stage at club level most recently in the Champions League group stages in 2010, with Ronaldo scoring in a 2-0 win over Milan at the Bernabeu before a 2-2 draw in the return game.
Will Ibra secure his second victory over Ronaldo in Solna? Tune in to FIFA.com's exclusive MatchCast service on Tuesday to find out.
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