Romelu Lukaku or Zlatan Ibrahimovic ? Who is better?

Romelu Lukaku is a Belgian professional footballer who currently plays for Serie A club Inter Milan while on loan from Premier League club Chelsea. Lukaku is a player known for his great goalscoring abilities which helped Inter Milan win the Scudetto in 2021.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays for AC Milan and even at the age of 40, he is still very competitive. Ibrahimovic is recognised for his acrobatic strikes and volleys, strong long-range skills, superb technique, and ball control. He is one of the most decorated current football players in the world and is recognised as one of the best attackers of all time.

1: Player Stats

Zlatan is a player who has scored from every position on the pitch. In his long career Zlatan, he has played for many clubs and scored a lot of goals for each club. A young Zlatan who started his Malmo and then Ajax has left his prints on many big clubs such as Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United, PSG, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

The Belgian also has a lot of goals under his belt as he is known as a serial goalscorer. The most successful spell for Lukaku would be his time with Inter Milan as he scored 48 goals in just 76 matches.

We will compare Lukaku and Zlatan based on the best season they have had in their respective careers. In the case of these two players, the year is different for both of them. Romelu Lukaku had his best season in 2020-21 while Zlatan had it in 2019.

Head-to-Head:

  ZlatanLukaku
Matches3133
Minutes29983156
Goals3124
Shots15996
Assists811
Passes1029746
Pass %71%73%
Offsides4921
OverallZlatanLukaku
Matches815568
Goals492276
Assists20288

It is clear that Ibrahimovic has won this category. The decision to play for the MLS was great for his career and it boosted the total number of goals. 

2: Titles Won

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a player who always aims for the title. In his long career, he has won many titles and few players can compete with Zlatan in this category.
 ZlatanLukaku
Serie A51
FA Cup01
FIFA CWC11
Ligue 140
La Liga10
Europa League10
Spanish Super Cup20
Others201

Both of them are excellent players, but Ibrahimovic takes first place in this category because he has more titles to his credit.

3: International Career

In his first game against Slovenia, while playing for Belgium’s under-21 squad, Lukaku scored a goal. On 24 February 2010, Lukaku was selected for the first time in the senior Belgium squad for a friendly match against Croatia. 

On 11 October 2013, Lukaku scored twice as Belgium defeated Croatia 2-1 to secure a spot in the World Cup finals. On 12 June 2021, Lukaku scored twice in Belgium’s opening group game of UEFA Euro 2020, a 3-0 victory over Russia. On September 5, 2021, Lukaku scored his 67th goal while making his 100th appearance for Belgium against the Czech Republic. 

Ibrahimovic represented Sweden’s U18 squad in four games in 1999, scoring one goal. Ibrahimovic had the choice of representing Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, or Sweden at the international level. On January 31, 2001, at Tipshallen, he made his national team debut for Sweden in a 0-0 friendly draw with the Faroe Islands. 

The match was part of the 2000–01 Nordic Football Championship. Ibrahimovic scored three goals during the qualifying round as Sweden won their group and qualified for UEFA Euro 2004. Ibrahimovic scored the winning goal in Sweden’s opening Euro 2008 match against Greece on June 10, 2008, ending a more than two-year goal drought for his country. He was also named Man of the Match. 

Ibrahimovic’s return to the team nearly five years after his initial retirement was formally confirmed when Andersson named Ibrahimovic to the Sweden squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Georgia on March 15, 2021.

4: Personal Life

Romelu Lukaku was born in Antwerp, Northern Belgium, on May 13, 1993. His family was a part of the minority black population of Belgium. Romelu’s father enrolled him in a local club, “Rupel Boom,” when Romelu was 5 years old after being struck by his unusual passion for football. Romelu put up a fantastic performance while playing for “Lierse,” scoring 121 goals in 68 games. Several Lierse players were adopted by Anderlecht when the club was demoted from the Belgian Pro League. Romelu was one of them and played in 93 games for “Anderlecht,” scoring 131 goals. Romelu was becoming a well-liked young football player.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born on October 3, 1981. His long-term partner is Helena Seger, with whom he has two sons: Maximilian (born 22 September 2006) and Vincent (born 6 March 2008). He used to live outside of Los Angeles while playing for the LA Galaxy. He does, however, have a summer home in Malmo. Ibrahimovic was awarded an honorary black belt in taekwondo. Ibrahimovic speaks five languages: Swedish, Bosnian, English, Spanish, and Italian. He has stated that he was raised as a Catholic. Because of his contract with Nike, Ibrahimovic has appeared in television commercials alongside other athletes who have been promoted by the brand, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Wayne Rooney. Ibrahimovic’s statue was inaugurated on October 8, 2019, in front of the Malmo Stadion in his hometown.

5: Individual Honours

All English football pundits agree that comparing two players’ glories is the best way to compare them. If a player is truly exceptional, he will undoubtedly be recognised for his efforts.

Individual honours of Romelu Lukaku:

Belgian Pro League: 2009–10
Serie A: 2020–21
UEFA Europa League runner-up: 2019–20
FIFA Club World Cup: 2021
FA Cup runner-up: 2021–22
EFL Cup runner-up: 2021–22
FIFA World Cup third place: 2018
IFFHS World’s Best International Goal Scorer: 2020
Belgian Sportsman Promising Talent of the Year: 2009
Belgian Bronze Shoe: 2009
Belgian Silver Shoe: 2010
Ebony Shoe: 2011
Everton Young Player of the Season: 2015–16
Everton Goal of the Season: 2015–16
Premier League Player of the Month: March 2017
PFA Team of the Year: 2016–17
Everton Player of the Season: 2016–17
Everton Players’ Player of the Season: 2016–17
FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot: 2018
Italian Football Hall of Fame (Davide Astori Fair Play Award): 2019
Premio internazionale Giacinto Facchetti: 2020
UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2020
UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season: 2019–20
UEFA Europa League Player of the Season: 2019–20
Serie A Most Valuable Player: 2020–21
UEFA Nations League top scorer: 2020–21
Best Belgian Abroad: 2020, 2021
Serie A Team of the Year: 2020–21
Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2021
Ballon d’Or nomination: 2021

Individual honours of Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

Eredivisie: 2001–02, 2003–04
KNVB Cup: 2001–02
Johan Cruyff Shield: 2002
Serie A: 2004–05, 2005–06 (both revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal)
Serie A: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09
Supercoppa Italiana: 2006, 2008
FIFA Club World Cup: 2009
UEFA Super Cup: 2009
La Liga: 2009–10
Supercopa de España: 2009, 2010
Serie A: 2010–11, 2021–22
Supercoppa Italiana: 2011
Ligue 1: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Coupe de France: 2014–15, 2015–16
Coupe de la Ligue: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Trophée des Champions: 2013, 2014, 2015
UEFA Europa League: 2016–17
EFL Cup: 2016–17
FA Community Shield: 2016
Ballon d’Or Nominations: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Ballon d’Or 4th place: 2013
Golden Foot: 2012
Globe Soccer Awards Player Career Award: 2022
FIFA Puskás Award: 2013
FIFA FIFPro World XI: 2013
UEFA Team of the Year: 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014
UEFA Ultimate Team of the Year (published 2015)
UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2012
UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2013–14
UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season: 2016–17
ESM Team of the Year: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2012–13, 2013–14
L’Équipe Journalists’ Best XI: 2008
UEFA Euro 2004: Goal of the Tournament: Italy vs Sweden
UEFA Euro 2012: Goal of the Tournament: Sweden vs France
UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2012–13
Eurosport Goal of the Year: 2004
Club van 100
Juventus Player of the Year: 2004–05
Serie A Player of the Month: September 2007, December 2008, January 2012, October 2020
Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year: 2004–05, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2011–12
Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11
Serie A Most Loved Player: 2005
Serie A Team of the Year: 2010–11, 2011–12
Serie A Goal of the Year: 2008
Capocannoniere: 2008–09, 2011–12
Supercoppa Italiana Man of the Match: 2011
Gazzetta Sports Awards Legend: 2020
Italy Best Foreign Athlete: 2021
AC Milan Hall of Fame
Sportschau Goal of the Year Award: 2012
GQ Men of the Year: 2013
Ligue 1 Player of the Month: September 2012, January 2014, February 2014, March 2014, November 2015
UNFP Just Fontaine Trophy Ligue 1 Best Forward of the Season: 2012–13
Ligue 1 Best Foreign Player: 2012, 2013, 2014
Ligue 1 Player of the Year: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16
Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Ligue 1 Top scorer: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16
Ligue 1 Goal of the Year: 2014
Étoile d’Or France Football: 2014, 2016
Coupe de la Ligue Top scorer: 2014–15
Coupe de France Top scorer: 2014–15, 2015–16
September 2012, November 2013, January 2014, February 2015, November 2015, December 2015, January 2016, February 2016
Paris Saint-Germain Hall of Fame
Paris Saint-Germain Team of the History
Medal of the City of Paris: 2016
Alan Hardaker Trophy: 2017
EFL Cup top scorer: 2016–17
MLS All-Star: 2018, 2019
MLS Best XI: 2018, 2019
MLS Goal of the Year: 2018
MLS Greatest Goal: 2020
Best MLS Player ESPY Award: 2019
LA Galaxy Player of the Year: 2018, 2019
LA Galaxy Golden Boot: 2018, 2019
LA Galaxy Goal of the Year: 2018, 2019
Pegasus Award: 2004
Stor Grabb: 2004
Guldbollen: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2020
Jerringpriset: 2007
Fotbollskanalens hederspris: 2008
IFFHS Men’s All-Time Sweden Dream Team
International Swede of the Year Award: 2013
Eliason Merit Award: 2018
Malmö Walk of Fame: 2012
Medal of the City of Malmö: 2015
Swedish Newcomer of the Year: 2001
Swedish Football Personality of the Year: 2002
Swedish Forward of the Year: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Swedish Male Athlete of the Year: 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015
Swedish Goal of the Year: 2012, 2013

Lukaku is not even close to ‘The Lion‘ in this category.

6. Club 

On May 13, 2009, Lukaku turned 16 and signed a professional contract with Anderlecht that would last until 2012. Lukaku signed a five-year contract with Premier League club Chelsea in August 2011 for a fee reported to be around €12 million, with add-ons worth up to €20 million.

Lukaku joined Manchester United on July 10, 2017, signing a five-year contract extension option. Lukaku signed a five-year contract with Inter Milan on August 8, 2019, for a reported club-record fee of €80 million. Chelsea announced on June 29, 2022, that Lukaku would return to Inter Milan on a season-long loan for the 2022-23 season.

Ibrahimovic signed his first contract with Malmö in 1996 and advanced to the senior team for the 1999 season of Allsvenskan, Sweden’s top-flight league. Ibrahimovic officially joined Ajax for 80 million Swedish kronor on March 22, 2001, after a deal between Ajax and Malmo was announced.

Ibrahimovic moved to Juventus from Ajax for €16 million. Ibrahimovic returned to AC Milan on a free transfer on December 27, 2019, on a six-month contract with an option to extend his contract until the end of the 2020-21 season. On July 15, 2020, Ibrahimovic (counting his prior spell) made his 100th appearance for the team.

In the 123-year history of Serie A, he broke the record previously held by former Parma centre-back Bruno Alves by becoming the oldest non-Italian player to score a goal at the age of 39 years and 344 days.

Who is the better player?


Ibrahimovic is an exceptional player even at the age of 40+. It is not easy to stay in this form but Zlatan continues to be at the same level despite age taking over.

The Chelsea player Romelu Lukaku has had his fair share of experience and achievements in the world of football. The good part about Lukaku is that he still has more time to get back and change the above stats completely.

Based on the above comparison it is clear that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is way ahead of Lukaku in most of the criteria.

“Lions, they don’t compare themselves with humans.” – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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