Michael Jordan Ditched For Muhammad Ali as Lionel Messi’s Ex-Teammate Makes ‘Greatest Sportsman’ Claim

Published 10/07/2023, 1:30 PM EDT

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Lionel Messi’s former teammate held a deep admiration for Muhammad Ali throughout his career. The greatest athlete of all time remains a topic of debate for every sports enthusiast. However, the Swedish star is firmly convinced that the boxing legend stands the best in the history of all sports.

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Sports luminaries such as Michael Jordan and Tom Brady are often regarded as the best sports figures worldwide. Nevertheless, the Swedish legend drew inspiration from Muhammed Ali for his legacy that transpired beyond the confines of the boxing ring. On this note, the AC Milan icon conveyed the moral value that the veteran boxer embodies for generations to come over the decades.

 The Swedish star looks up to Muhammad Ali

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic was inspired by the boxing sensation: his outspokenness and commitment to social causes with his unconventional actions. The American legend did not make any decisions considering the opinions or feelings of others. Muhammad Ali gladly presented his own beliefs and did not attempt to project a different image of himself on any public platform.

The 42-year-old icon emphasized that Muhammad Ali’s ambition was not to gain fame among people but to bring positive societal change. Ibrahimovic hailed the boxing legend as the greatest sportsman for such inspiring qualities. The Swedish star remarked in Piers Morgan’s show, “Muhammad Ali was the greatest sportsman ever because I feel today, the player tries to be as perfect as possible. He wants to have the perfect image. Afraid that somebody would judge him in the wrong way. Muhammad Ali was not that. Muhammad Ali was himself. And he was himself in the ring outside the ring.”

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The AC Milan legend also mentioned the way he strives to emulate the principles of Muhammad Ali. Ibrahimovic works for the welfare of people beyond the realms of his soccer dynamics. However, he asserted a distinctly different perspective on social welfare compared to other sports athletes of this era.

The ex-teammate of Lionel Messi transpires the values of his role model

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a soaring career over two decades. The Swedish star scored over 600 goals with nine different clubs before hanging up his boots. Ibrahimovic remained actively engaged with many initiatives following his retirement. He donated a staggering $1 million to the welfare of a hospital. The PSG legend also contributed funds to build a school for the children. The United icon also donated $36,700 to the Swedish national team for players with learning disabilities in 2014.

Amidst many such notable charities, the ex-United striker expressed his social works are not to enhance his reputation in the public. The veteran forward engaged in such activities out of genuine interest to serve the common people. He also added in the interview, “If you do those things, you don’t have to be seen because a third person has to say to you, what a lovely guy you are. No, I don’t need that. I do it because I want to do that. To get an image that I think of today in this sports world. They’re looking, they’re focusing too much on their image instead of being who you are: people, I have to accept you for who you are.

Consequently, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s social impact is truly inspiring for the players, a point that was highlighted in the extensive interview with Piers Morgan.

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How did you react to Ibrahimovic’s remark on Muhammad Ali? Comment below and let us know.

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Written by:

Prabuddha Basu

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Prabuddha is a soccer writer at EssentiallySports. Growing up watching the sagacious Manchester United where legends like Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes shone, Prabuddha has been an admirer of the EPL giants, and looks forward to the new era stars like Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford as the torch bearers. Keen follower of the game, he values weaving his articles with facts, analysis and captivating narratives.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph

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