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Ibrahimovic "back pass" has Spanish pundits purring

Last Updated: Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 17:32

Madrid: Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had soccer pundits purring on Sunday but not because of the goal that gave the champions a 1-0 win at Real Mallorca on the previous evening to put the champions top of La Liga.

It was a piece of rarely seen improvisation that caught the eye and prompted praise for the way the Swede creates space and scoring chances for his team mates.
Pedro sent over a deep cross from the right and Ibrahimovic, seeing Lionel Messi in space behind him, used his back to direct the ball into the Argentina forward`s path.

Although Messi fired his first-time shot over the bar, Marca daily dubbed the move by the former Inter Milan striker "an amazing trick".

Juan Cruz, a columnist in AS, said Ibrahimovic`s play created space that his predecessor Samuel Eto`o, who went to Inter in a swap deal with Ibrahimovic last summer, would have been unwilling to relinquish.

"Generosity probably doesn`t feature very highly in Ibrahimovic`s character but he certainly plays in a way that opens up space that allow his team mates to penetrate more easily," Cruz wrote.

"Lionel Messi`s game has improved with Ibrahimovic on the pitch," he added.

The Swede himself said in a television interview after the Mallorca game it was a shame Messi had failed to score.
"It would have been sweet," he said with a shrug.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 17:32

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