Zlatan confirms that he wasn’t applauding Ronnie, he was encouraging his team-mates
Good man Zlatan. Just when people thought the Swede was able to acknowledge another brilliant footballer, he proves them wrong.
During the Ibra/Ronnie show on Tuesday night, pictures circulated of the Swedish striker applauding on the pitch right after the Portuguese star completed his hat-trick.
It seemed to us, and many other observers for that matter, that it was a great gesture of sportsmanship, acknowledging a truly brilliant individual performance as Portugal booked their place in the World Cup. However, this is Zlatan, and praise is earned the hard way and he told Gazzetta dello Sport that he was merely rousing his team-mates.
“Was I applauding Ronaldo? No, I was just trying to encourage my team-mates. I clapped my hands to cheer them up and motivate them for the last few minutes,” he informed readers.
“We had already gone down before. It is important not to give up until the final whistle because the unexpected can always happen.”
In fairness to Ibrahimovic, he did say that Ronnie is the best counter-attacking player in the game, but when he was questioned about the Real Madrid man’s chances of scooping the Ballon d’Or, the response was exactly what you would expect from the big man.
“Is he the best player in the world? I can only say that he scored one goal more than I did.”