By Mac Izu Nelson
Today we talk about two of the best strikers the modern game has ever seen.
Who do you think is a better forward?
Wayne Rooney: Remember 2010? When before a game against Bursaspor Wayne claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson’s United, then with 18 league titles and 3 champions league victories was not ambitious enough to house his talents. How time flies. Two bumper contracts later and there is talk of the England striker being shipped off to China. Some would argue that since 2010, the Wayne Rooney who lit up the world for the six years prior has not been seen.
In those days, Rooney was a name which struck up fear in the hearts of opposition defenders.
He was agile, aggressive, fast and relentless.
His shooting was fierce and spot on. His debut goal for Everton against Arsenal springs to mind; a deft control, before he curled the ball beyond a reaching David Seaman.
He became the youngest ever goal scorer in Premier League history, breaking Michael Owen’s record.
That was the moment the boy Rooney, announced himself to the world.
67 appearances and 15 goals later for Everton, the lively teenager found his way to Manchester United and the rest as they say, is history.
He has smashed record after record but there is still that feeling that Wayne never reached the full extent of his powers. Such was his brilliance especially during his formative years as a footballer.
Still, after 546 appearances for United, Wayne has chipped in with 250 goals and 145 assists. Not bad for someone considered by a lot of people to be overhyped and overrated.
But his best display of genius for this writer, came in the derby clincher of February 2011 where he applied an astounding over head finish to a deflected Nani cross.
But is he a better number 9 than Zlatan?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic; His name rolls of your tongue, doesn’t it?
Like power in your mouth.
Zlatan is as famous for his on field magic as he is for his off field antics. Tongue-in-cheek responses aplenty, a kick to the back of a mate’s head, a plethora of jaw dropping goals, Zlatan is a coagulation of excitement.
Born in Malmö, Sweden, the 35 year old has gone on to have an illustrious career, winning titles at every stop.
At the age of 20, Zlatan signed for Ajax Amsterdam, making 74 appearances and scoring 35 goals.
The goal against NAC Breda comes to mind. With his back to goal, Zlatan received the ball. He went on to bamboozle and dribble the whole Breda backline, including the keeper, before slotting the ball into the back of the net.
“Maradona!”, the commentator exclaimed.
In 2004 Juventus came calling, and he went on to also play for Internazional, Milan, and Barcelona.
But his most productive years came in the prime of his years. At the point where normal strikers like Wayne Rooney begin to lose their powers. But Ibrahimovic has been anything but normal.
Between 2012-2016 he made 122 appearances for Paris St Germain, scoring a whopping 113 times!
If Rooney scored a jaw dropping overhead kick, Ibrahimovic’s against England was just outwardly.
And all this at the twilight of his footballing years!
He remains a force of nature, and his ongoing stint at Manchester United continues to serve up reminders of his ineffable genius.
So who, in your opinion, is a better forward? Zlatan comes out on top for this writer.