Football News

Barcelona forward KPB reveals the ex-teammate who impressed him more than Lionel Messi

By Ben Green

Published: 17:32, 28 March 2019

Barcelona loanee Kevin-Prince Boateng has overlooked teammate Lionel Messi in favour of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the best footballer he has ever played alongside.    

Boateng joined Barca on a six-month loan from Sassuolo in January, providing Ernesto Valverde some much-needed back up following the transfers of Paulinho and Munir.

Zlatan or Messi, who is better? Five key things to know…

  1. Ibrahimovic has enjoyed an illustrious career, turning out for some of Europe’s biggest clubs – winning a major trophy in four of the continent’s top five divisions.
  2. The Swede has made the Ballon d’Or shortlist on five separate occasions, placing fourth in 2013.
  3. He has won 19 major trophies across his career but has failed to clinch a Champions League title.
  4. Messi on the other hand has won five Ballon d’Ors as well as four Champions League trophies.
  5. Despite this, Boateng has ranked Ibrahimovic ahead of Messi for his best player.

In a quickfire Q&A interview with Barca TV, the 32-year-old made the astonishing admission that Ibrahimovic impressed him more at AC Milan than Messi has so far done during his short time in Barcelona.

The pair worked alongside each other at the San Siro between 2010 and 2012, helping the Rossoneri clinch the Scudetto during the 2010/11 season.

Boateng played a key role in that Serie A title success but hasn’t quite had the same impact since relocating to Catalonia two months ago.

Barca are on course to win another La Liga title and could secure a famous treble with a Copa del Rey final awaiting them in May, while a Champions League quarter-final clash against Manchester United is scheduled for next month.

Messi has – once again – been the fulcrum of that success, scoring 39 goals in 37 matches across all competitions, but that has not been enough to sway Boateng’s judgement.

When asked to name the best player he has played with, Boateng said: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

Boateng has previously honoured Messi with high praise, describing him as the best player “in this world and every world” during his official Barcelona press conference.

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Boateng in Barca

Boateng’s transfer to Barcelona was swiftly followed by widespread shock with many dubbing the transfer one of the strangest in the club’s recent history.

The sale of Munir to Sevilla sparked sudden panic for Valverde as the club only had one senior striker available, in Luis Suarez.

As such, Boateng was brought in as emergency cover should Suarez suffer injury or face suspension down the line.

It’s unlikely that, given how little playing time he has been afforded, Barca will trigger the clause to make the former Ghana international’s signing a permanent one in the summer.

Since joining the club, Boateng has started just once in La Liga and the Copa del Rey respectively, without providing a goal or an assist.