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Zlatan Ibrahimovic tried to copy Brazil great Ronaldo as youngster

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that Ronaldo was someone he tried to copy as a youngster because the Brazilian was capable of "magic."

Ibrahimovic, 35, followed in the footsteps of Ronaldo by playing up front for Barcelona, Inter Milan and AC Milan but they were never teammates. When Ibrahimovic started his career at Malmo, Ronaldo had already won the FIFA World Player of the Year twice and was a prolific scorer for Inter and Brazil.

Ibrahimovic told United Review: "I think Ronaldo was phenomenal. He was the player that whatever he did it became 'wow.' He could do a difficult thing and it became magic.

"He would take the ball and it was like him saying 'I'll take care of it now.' You didn't have that kind of football player before and you don't have it today. He doesn't exist.

"As a young player, I watched him and said to myself 'I want to be exactly like that,' the player who makes the difference, the shining light, simple as that."

World Cup winner Ronaldo, who was FIFA World Player of the Year three times (1996, 1997 and 2002), retired from the game in February 2011. He scored a total of 15 goals at three World Cups, striking twice in Brazil's 2-0 win in the 2002 final against Germany.

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.

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