The Manchester United legend is backing
the Swedish striker to end 2016 with more
club goals than the tally mustered by
Barcelona’s talismanic Argentine
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal-scoring exploits
for Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester
United in 2016 show that he is ‘the equal’
of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi,
according to Paddy Crerand.
The Swedish striker was on target again
for the Red Devils on Boxing Day and now
has 50 club efforts for the calendar year.
That return places him just one behind
Argentine icon Messi and six ahead of
Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ibrahimovic could leap to the top of the
list on New Year’s Eve as he still has one
more fixture to take in, while his rivals for
the crown in La Liga are taking in a winter
United are due to host Middlesbrough on
Saturday, and Crerand is backing a
talismanic figure to deliver the goods once
He considers Ibrahimovic – who is now 35
years of age – to be ‘incredible’ and, as an
Old Trafford legend hoping to see the club
prosper once more, wishes the enigmatic
frontman was 10 years younger.
Crerand said in the Daily Mirror : “If you ask
anyone who’s the best player in the world
they would probably say Messi and his
feat shows he’s the equal of him.
“I must admit I didn’t realise just how
good he is, but seeing him every week, he’s
“What I like about him is his intelligence,
his football brain. His fitness levels are
unbelievable and I just wish he was 25!
“He must be a pleasure to play with and
for someone who is a midfield player, to
have him playing in front of you with his
imagination, must be tremendous.”
Ibrahimovic’s record of 12 goals in his
opening 17 Premier League appearances
can only be bettered in United colours by
Ruud van Nistelrooy, but Crerand believes
the Swede’s achievements are greater than
those of his Dutch predecessor due to the
calibre of colleagues he is playing with.
‘Ibrahimovic is unique at Man Utd’
He added: “If you look at when Ruud
joined United, he was fortunate to play
with some of the very best players ever to
play for the club,” said the 1968 European
“Some of the current players may become
the equal of them, but for Zlatan to have
17 goals already is a phenomenal