Haaland and Ibrahimovic not comparable, says Sweden defender

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By Martin Graham | 7th Jun 2022

Sweden defender Ludwig Augustinsson put to bed every comparison between Erling Haaland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

This was before Norway and Sweden faced off in their UEFA Nations League fixture on Sunday in which the Norway striker scored twice to condemn Sweden to a 2-1 loss.

Haaland, the 6 foot 3 inches monster has been compared to Ibrahimovic, who towers above many of his peers at 6 foot 4 inches. The 40-year-old veteran is a member of many winning squads, having bagged 34 titles in a career that has seen him feature in the MLS, LaLiga, Serie A, Eredivisie, Swedish Allsvenskan, Premier League and Ligue 1.

Haaland, meanwhile, is at the beginning of his career but his playing style has been compared to Ibrahimovic’s on a number of occasions. And just like in the early days of the Swede’s career, he is also scoring loads of goals although his professional numbers dwarf those of the AC Milan striker’s when he was the Norwegian’s age.

Many have hoped for both strikers to face off in a match one day in one of the most anticipated inter-generational matchups in football. Being drawn in the same group for the Nations League presented fans with the opportunity. However, injury came in the way of the matchup and Haaland stole all the headlines with his brace in Stockholm.

Before the game, however, Sevilla defender Augustinsson was asked about the comparisons between his nation’s most prolific and accomplished player and the budding Norwegian who they were about to face. He said: “If you compare yourself with Zlatan, you lose every time. I do not think anyone should compare themselves with Zlatan.”

Ibrahimovic has high hopes for Haaland

Despite the comments from Augustinsson, Ibrahimovic believes that Haaland could go on to become the best striker the world has ever seen.

Speaking in an interview with CBS Sports in December 2021, the former Manchester United striker tipped Haaland alongside Kylian Mbappe for greatness in the coming years. But he singled out Haaland for his ability to keep it simple on the pitch and score goals. “I think Mbappe is a reminder of Ronaldo the Fenômeno – he’s very elegant in his game. [But] when you talk about young players, you talk about Haaland.

“Haaland is good because I think he is obsessed with goals, and he’s not doing more than he needs to do. He’s only focusing on goals, and sometimes you have players that think they can do more than they’re able to – that is not intelligence.

“In Haaland, I see this intelligence, as he just wants to score goals and he knows he can score goals. He’s only trying to do that.”

Ibrahimovic is currently recovering from knee surgery which will keep him out of action until January 2023 at the earliest. However, he is set to take up a role with the Swedish Football Association which could see him remain involved in the national team, but not as a player.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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