In-form Ibrahimovic ready for Inter return

AFP - [email protected] • 16 Sep, 2009 Updated Wed 16 Sep 2009 18:15 CEST

Barcelona and record signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic go into Wednesday's Champions League group opener at Inter Milan in high spirits after collecting maximum points from the first two league outings.


Ibrahimovic joined Barca from Inter in a massive 69-million-euro deal and will be full of confidence for his return to the San Siro having scored two goals in as many games.

After heading in a debut goal against Sporting Gijon, Ibrahimovic scored the opener and set up Lionel Messi for the second goal in Barca's 2-0 win at Getafe on Saturday.

The Swedish international is still not fully fit as he recovers from surgery on a hand injury so Barca fans will hope there is much more to come.

"I have scored two goals and I am really happy," said Ibrahimovic. "I am still not 100 percent fit but the most important thing is to be getting games under my belt.

"The Inter game will be a difficult game but very special for me because I played there for three years and have some fond memories of my time there. I am coming back in a different shirt and couldn't be happier."

Ibrahimovic, who has been nicknamed 'Ibracadabra' in the local press, won three league titles in Italy with Inter before opting for a new challenge in Spain.

A few eyebrows were raised when Barca coach Pep Guardiola made Ibrahimovic the second most expensive player in history, behind Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, but the coach is happy with what he has seen.

"He (Ibrahimovic) was extraordinary (against Getafe)," said Guardiola. "He moved away from the play and created some good chances. He could be the focus of our attack. I feel good about him."

The formidable Barca attack was a key factor behind their unprecedented league, Kings Cup and Champions League treble success last season and new boy Ibrahimovic said playing with Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta made life easy.

"They (Messi and Iniesta) make it so easy for you," said the former Juventus man. "They create space and defenders don't know how to mark because normally they mark the best player on the pitch but then all of a sudden there are three dangerous players."

Messi has been having a torrid time with the Argentine national team but continues to sparkle at Barca while Iniesta made his first appearance in three months as a second half substitute against Getafe.

Iniesta had not played since the Champions League final win over Manchester United in May after suffering from a torn thigh muscle.


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