Skip to content

Would you rather have Michael Bradley or Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Nov 15, 2012, 3:31 PM EDT

United States v Antigua & Barbuda - World Cup Qualifier Getty Images

The premise of this post is, we happily admit, ridiculous. But bear with us. We’ve been traveling for almost 24 straight hours — Russia is a long way from New York City — and we are fried in the brain department. Plus, we are very much interested to know what you think.

So, here’s the question: If you were American head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, would you rather have Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Michael Bradley? Ignore for a second the fact that they play remarkably different positions and other logistical issues. Think about it.

We’ll wait.

Okay, tired of waiting.

The easy, obvious answer, of course, is Zlatan. He scores goals in bunches, and does absurd, ridiculous things that basically threaten to break the Internet.

Ibra, whose club teams win constantly even if his not-very-good national team struggles, is — in a word — awesome. I don’t care who you are: If you are a coach, you’d want him on your squad.

But, but, but… Michael Bradley — sorry, that would be PST Man of the Match Michael Bradley — is the most important player on the United States national team. By far.

It’s not just the goals he scores, of which the volley against Russia on Wednesday night was the latest in a series of right place, right time combined with impressive skill. It’s the qualities he brings to the team: the composure on the ball, the vision to switch fields, the general awareness. The kid has become a man and a maestro.

Honestly, we doubt it’s the popular choice, but if we’re Jurgen Klinsmann and all other things being equal, we’re taking Bradley instead of the brilliant Swede. Call us naive, perhaps, but prove why we’re wrong. Enough about our thoughts, hopes, and dreams. What are yours?

UPDATE: A couple commenters make good points, but I want to note the purpose of this exercise is to discusse the players in the context of the USMNT. In a random game, I’m taking Ibra every time. For the match against Russia, I’m not so sure.

  1. doublezero74 - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    You must be jet lagged and/or have a Russian virus or something. The article is silly. Sorry

    • Noah Davis - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      I admit it’s silly, and said as much in the beginning of the post, but I still don’t think it’s unreasonable to posit. What are your reasons, James?

  2. arjanroghanchi - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    not sure how serious this post is supposed to be, but to indulge you for a moment:

    Ibra has probably on of the highest soccer IQs of any player alive playing or long retired. Witness him checking his run, anticipating the bad angle Joe Hart was taking, and getting himself in a position to attempt that shot, then actually attempting that shot. The goal itself wasn’t the most impressive thing. It was how PREPARED he was to take the shot.

    Opposing defenders are probably more fearful of Zlatan than any other player alive, other than Leo Messi.

    Zlatan’s uber-ego is enough to power even the most meek or timid teams to perform at high levels.

    Also, this actually happened:

    After a female Spanish reporter asked him to comment on gay rumors between him and Gerard Pique, Zlatan responded by saying, “Come to my house and you’ll see if I’m gay. And bring your sister.”

    Michael Bradley is a very good midfielder.

    In summary, Black Belt.

  3. sledge149 - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    If you took Bradley and exchanged him for Ibrahimovic, where would you play him?

    Midfield? Thats a joke.

    Forward where he belongs?

    Without Bradley who is going to feed the balls to Ibrahimovic? Joe Hart isn’t going to be on the opposing team to do it every game!

    • arjanroghanchi - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      you are joking right? anyone can feed him balls.

      • sledge149 - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        Sort of, sort of not.

        Bradley has the best ball handling and distribution skills (in my opinion anyway) of any US player. I’m implying that Ibrahimovic or ANY forward would have less chances without Bradley..

    • ez0682 - Nov 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      ur too stupid to leave a comment with out bardly this bradley has good footskills. wtf om ur r f ing stupid he f ing sucks he is not a true mid idiot look at real mid all over the ball bradley is a defender an plays like 1 why am i even responding to ur stupid american as lol go tal handball nfl lol

      • mvktr2 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:24 AM

        ez there ez, one of the things most of us posters here at PST enjoy is friendly conversation not abrasive internet machoism that’s a dime a dozen at sports boards across net-landia. In short chill … please

      • crnelson10 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Not only is this post completely incoherent and incorrect, it has no place on this board.

  4. drmonkeyarmy - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Sorry sledge but don’t agree at all. You hoof if near Ibra, he wins the ball, distributes, then makes brilliant runs. It doesn’t matter who is in midfield.

    • sledge149 - Nov 15, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      Its a silly question anyway. If you had a choice between Ibrahimovic and Bradley I’d choose Messi any day! :)

  5. crnelson10 - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I take Micheal Bradley, every time. Why? Because America. That’s why.

    • crnelson10 - Nov 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      Also, I’d take Mike B in a fight against Gooch too.

    • mvktr2 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:29 AM

      Ah yes, blind nationalism opiate of the masses. 😉

      • crnelson10 - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM

        Ford vs Volvo? Ford. Ikea vs. The Amish? The Amish. Guaranteed healthcare vs. feeding the capitalist monster? Shut up. GI Joe vs. GI Johann? GI Joe. C’mon.

        Also, I’d say it’s more like the bath salts of the masses.

  6. wfjackson3 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    First things first. I have not read this yet, but based on the title alone, the answer is Ibrahimovic. I think he is probably the most complete elite level striker in the game right now. That said, I will now go read the article and comment on it in a few.

  7. wfjackson3 - Nov 15, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Ok so now more specifically, in the context of actually playing Ibra on a roster where Bradley is simply no longer available, I still take Ibra. The reason is because of his brilliant first touch. Link play? Forget it. I would run the 4-3-3 with all 3 mids basically playing defense and shooting long balls to one of the 3 forwards, who if they are not named Ibrahimovic, then play crosses to Ibra. When that stops working because they triple team him, send everyone forward.

    I just think his abilities are so good all around that Klinsman would find ways to make him very effective, even without the link play that Bradley provides.

    You know what? I was just trying to think of the last time the US midfield played a through ball to a forward that released them on a 1v1 vs the goalie that was a clear scoring chance. I am struggling to remember.

  8. tylerbetts - Nov 15, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Silly question. I mean, I get what you’re trying to go for here. But it’s a silly question. And, yes, the article states that flat out, but even in saying it bluntly, it downsells just how silly it is.

    Better question to demonstrate the growth/importance of Michael Bradley: if you’re playing a pick-up soccer game and picking players for two sides, who goes second? Because Michael Bradley is going first.

  9. speedsterofbeantown - Nov 15, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    I just don’t think the USMNT has enough firepower up front. Jozy Altidore isn’t a lone striker in a 4-3-3. Ibrahimavic is.

  10. travishenryskid - Nov 15, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Would you rather have Messi or Bradley? Seriously, your question is almost just as stupid.

  11. Dan Haug - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    OK, Just to play along…

    If you’ve got a healthy and in-form Dempsey and Donovan and we’re playing a 4-3-3 (which often morphs between a 4-5-1 and a 4-3-3) then the difference between an Altidore/Gomez/Boyd and Ibra at striker is HUGE. In the midfield, you’ve got Jones, Williams, and any number of other guys to fill in for Bradley (Edu, Castillo, Beckerman… etc.) the drop-off isn’t nearly as great. With Dempsey and Donovan dropping back into the midfield to link up, Ibra will have no problem getting the ball.

    As others have said… It’s a no-brainer. Bradley is great, and a cut above the rest of our CMs, but the gap isn’t THAT big, and Ibra is like no other guy in that position.

  12. mvktr2 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    I love MB… might even have a man crush. I enjoy watching Ibrahimovic, not a hater or fan just recognize his quality and enjoy watching him. HOWEVER……….. Zlatan is the hardest to find quality in the soccer world, especially at the national team level, a deadeyed ice water in the veins goal scoring machine. He scores consistently and in bunches. That quality you just can’t pass up on.

  13. joeyt360 - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    You guys are all wrong. The correct answer was:


  14. krazymunky - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    He. Is. Zlatan. there is only one obvious answer.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

MOTD: United's offensive struggles