Ryan Giggs has addressed recent comparisons made between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Cantona at Manchester United, pointing towards their comparable levels of goalscoring prowess and confidence in their ability.
The Swede netted his 24th goal of the season during Man United’s 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round last week.
Former players such as Alan Smith, Jamie Redknapp and even former United captain Roy Keane have all drawn comparisons between Zlatan and the Frenchman this season.
And Giggs, speaking earlier this week, noted that there were some clear similarities between the two.
“It is not easy (playing into your mid-30s),” he said. “The first bad game that you have, everyone always says, ‘He is too old’ or he is this or that, so you’re fighting against that all the time.
“But to actually be centre-forward and be the man they are relying on really to score the goals is added pressure as well.
“He is not the kind of player that will be overawed by that, and you can see that with the hat-trick in midweek and obviously rescuing United (on Sunday).
“I think there’s similarities because of that confidence they have in their own ability and the goals that they have scored.
“It didn’t faze Eric or Ibrahimovic coming to United and being the number one player. Even when they are playing well and getting all the adoration, they don’t get carried away.
“It’s their job and you can see that he is a good professional, he is always fit and at his age to play centre-forward and to produce the goals he is producing is unbelievable.”
The one clear-as-day comparison that can be made between Zlatan and Cantona, above anything, is their overall demeanour – both on and off the pitch.
If you took somebody who had never watched a minute of football to Old Trafford this season, you could safely bet that the first player to catch their attention would be Zlatan – that ominously looming, boisterous presence at the masthead of attack, almost visibly brimming with confidence as he patrols the hallow turf. Needless to say, the same could have been said about Cantona all those years ago.
Such magnetism, in turn, explains why Cantona’s name continues to pervade the Theatre of Dreams to this day, even if the King himself left United 20 years ago.