- South American superstar shining at Qatar 2022
- Former team-mates expects ultimate glory
- Eternal rival Ronaldo now without a club
WHAT HAPPENED? The enigmatic Swede spent one season working alongside the mercurial South American at Barcelona in 2009-10 and is fully aware of how important he can be to any given cause. Messi has been starring for his country again in the Middle East, registering four goals through five games, and Ibrahimovic believes the time has come for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner to get his hands on the most prestigious of prizes.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ibrahimovic has said ahead of the World Cup semi-finals: “I think it's already written who will win, and you know who I mean. I think Messi will lift the trophy, it's already written.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While discussing the immediate future for Messi, Ibrahimovic has also given his take on the recent past for another all-time great – Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. The former Manchester United frontman has said of seeing a fellow forward have a lucrative contract at Old Trafford ripped up: “His exiting United, I think when things happen, we will never know the true story. They say what they want to say, he says what he needs to say to protect himself, then you have the coach that says these things to protect himself. Then the club says things – not like me, I will tell you how it really happened. But we are all different. Everybody is careful about their image. For me the perfect image is being yourself. The true story we will not know my friend.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Ronaldo bowed out of the 2022 World Cup as Portugal suffered a shock defeat to Morocco at the quarter-final stage, but Messi is now readying himself for a semi-final showdown with Croatia on Tuesday.