Ronaldo vs Zlatan - Who should go to the World Cup?

Ronaldo Portugal V North Korea

As Portugal and Sweden prepare to face off in the World Cup playoffs, the attention has turned to just two players...

Both sides are seen as perennial qualifiers for major tournaments, but the 2014 World Cup will be without one of Portugal or Sweden, as they were drawn together in the pick of the playoff ties.

Whilst both sides possess talented players – Nani, Joao Moutinho and Fabio Coentrao for Portugal and Ola Toivonen, Rasmus Elm and Jonas Olsson for Sweden, but the main headline features two of the best players on the planet.

Cristiano Ronaldo will take on Zlatan Ibrahimovic – and one of them won't be going to the World Cup next summer.

Ronaldo is currently making a very strong case for the Ballon d'Or, having started the season in even better form than usual, scoring 24 goals in just 17 appearances for Real Madrid this season. Whilst he's often criticised for not being quite as spectacular at international level, but his record of almost one goal every two games suggests he's still a dangerous threat for Paulo Bento's side.

Meanwhile, Zlatan is also in blistering form domestically, where he's hit 14 goals in 15 games for Paris Saint-Germain, as he became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League game with a sensational display against Anderlecht. At international level, it's often said that Sweden actually play better without Ibrahimovic, but 18 goals in his last 17 apperances for Erik Hamren's men show that he's just as clinical for Sweden.

Both are outstanding players, but who would fans rather see at the World Cup next summer?

Ronaldo is the best player in the world according to many, and the World Cup would be the perfect stage for the former Manchester United star, particularly as he is in the best form of his life. His Portugal team, whilst often underachievers, are a potential dark horse after reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2012, and in this form, Ronaldo could push them over the final hurdle on current form – despite missing out on automatic qualification yet again.

Sweden on the other hand are a fairly average team who can rely on Zlatan to provide moments of magic. Zlatan is now 32, and this could well be his last chance to appear at a World Cup, whereas Ronaldo may still have the chance to appear in Russia in 2018. There is also no guarantee that Sweden would even be in a position to make the next World Cup, and a 36 year old Ibrahimovic may not be in their plans by that time.

The focus will no doubt be on these two players as they bid to feature at the World Cup, but who would you rather see featuring in Brazil next summer?

image: © jbagley

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