Having worked as an assistant manager alongside Carlo Ancelotti at the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, Paul Clement has seen first hand what makes superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic so special.
While full of praise for a number of Blues icons, the English coach reserved special praise for two attackers currently competing in Serie A for Juventus and AC Milan respectively.
Both Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic have dominated in front of goal for the past 15 years with Clement noting how both would look to give themselves an edge over their opposition off the pitch.
“Two special people and characters as players were Zlatan and Cristiano,” Clement said on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Euro Leagues podcast.
“Of course, everyone can see the special talents they are on the pitch but on a personal level they are also interesting, funny and confident.
“Zlatan does it very openly, speaks very confidently – and at times it is arrogance, but that is what he is. He used to be like that on a daily basis and would ask me questions such as: ‘What is Didier Drogba like?’ I would go into detail about what he is good at and Zlatan would be like, ‘He is not as good as me’ and would make you laugh.
“They were both very professional on and off the field. The way they looked after their bodies with recovery, knowledge of nutrition.
“At his house in Madrid, Cristiano had special recovery facilities that you would find at a club or a health spa. He had a cold plunge; he really invested in his profession and health.
“Those type of people go the extra mile.”
Desperate for success, both players are no strangers to demanding a lot from their teammates with Clement admitting Ibrahimovic, in particular, could be quite intimidating in that respect.
“I remember how strong Zlatan was with his team-mates [at PSG]. I have never seen anyone demand so much from his team-mates,” Clement said.
“Brazilian left-back Maxwell was an example of that – someone who he played with at Ajax, Inter, Barcelona and PSG. When Zlatan had a go at Maxwell about something in a game or in training, he would just tell him where to go.
“Some other players were like shrinking violets and I felt for them. They were shaking in their boots when Zlatan had a go at them.”