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Written by Martin Graham | 7 June 2022
Sweden defender Ludwig Augustensson has put to bed every comparison between Erling Haaland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
This was before Norway and Sweden meet in Sunday’s Nations League match as the Norwegian striker scored twice to condemn Sweden to a 2-1 loss.
Haaland, the 6-foot-3-inch monster, has been compared to Ibrahimovic, who rises above many of his peers with a height of 6-foot-4. The 40-year-old veteran is a member of several winning teams, having claimed 34 titles in a career that saw him take part in the MLS, La Liga, Serie A, Eredivisie, Swedish League, Premier League and Serie A.
Meanwhile, Haaland is in the prime of his career, but his playing style has been compared to Ibrahimovic’s on a number of occasions. And just as happened in the early days of the Swede’s career, he also scores a lot of goals despite his professional numbers exceeding those of the Milan striker when he was his Norwegian age.
Many hope to meet both strikers in a match one day in one of the most awaited confrontations between generations in football. The draw in the same group for the Nations League gave the fans the opportunity. However, an injury came in the way of the match and Haaland stole all the titles with his double in Stockholm.
But before the match, Sevilla’s defender Augustinson was asked about the comparisons between his country’s most productive and accomplished players and the young Norwegian they were about to face. He said: If you compare yourself to Zlatan, you lose every time. I don’t think anyone should compare themselves to Zlatan.”
Ibrahimovic has high hopes for Haaland
Despite Augustinson’s comments, Ibrahimovic believes Haaland could become the best striker the world has ever seen.
In an interview with CBS Sports in December 2021, the former Manchester United striker nominated Haaland along with Kylian Mbappe for greatness in the coming years. But Haaland singled out his ability to maintain simplicity on the field and score goals. “I think Mbappe is a reminder of Ronaldo on Finomino – he’s very elegant at his game. [But] When you talk about young players, you talk about Haaland.
“Haaland is good because I think he’s obsessed with goals, he doesn’t do more than he needs to. He just focuses on goals, and sometimes you have players who think they can do more than they can – that’s not smart.
“In Haaland, I see this intelligence, because he just wants to score goals and knows he can score goals. He is just trying to do it.”
Ibrahimovic is currently recovering from a knee surgery that will keep him out of action until January 2023 at the earliest. However, he is set to take on a role with the Swedish Football Association which could make him remain involved in the national team, but not as a player.