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Ukraine skipper Andriy Shevchenko has said that AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have been crowned the world player of the year if it had not been for Lionel Messi. The Barcelona striker Lionel Messi is widely regarded to be one of the best players in the world.

He has now won the Ballon d’Or three times in succession, which is a feat achieved by only a select few players in the world. Andriy Shevchenko won the Ballon d’Or when he was playing for AC Milan in 2004. Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped AC Milan win the Italian Serie A title last season by scoring 35 goals in all competitions. Even though he has not been able to replicate the same feat this time around, Shevchenko believes that Ibrahimovic is clearly one of the best players in the world.

Shevchenko will be coming up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic when Ukraine take on Sweden in the second game of the group D. He has sensationally claimed that Ibrahimovic has the ability to take Sweden to the semifinals of the Euro 2012. He has also said that even though the Sweden team is not strong in the midfield and defence, the presence of Ibrahimovic alone will help them do well at the Euro 2012.

“With Zlatan in the squad, everything is possible. He has enjoyed perhaps his best season yet. If there wasn’t Lionel Messi around, Zlatan could easily have won the Ballon d’Or this year, and he’d have deserved it. I know Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s quality very well, and a team with someone like him is automatically a candidate for a final victory. Maybe the Swedish national team is not so strong in defence and in midfield, but I feel they will be a competitor for a semi-finals berth,” said Shevchenko ahead of the match with Sweden Football.