Zlatan Ibrahimovic in limelight as PSG prepare for Malmo
All eyes will be on Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Paris Saint-German get their Champions League Group A campaign underway against his boyhood club Malmo in the French capital on Tuesday.
Paris: All eyes will be on Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Paris Saint-German get their Champions League Group A campaign underway against his boyhood club Malmo in the French capital on Tuesday.
Since leaving Sweden for Ajax in 2001 he has become one of the most feared strikers in world football, but time is running out for the 33-year-old to add a Champions League winners` medal to his collection despite domestic titles with Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Barcelona.
His current deal with PSG runs out at the end of the season and speculation is rife that he will move on, with the Sweden captain saying earlier this that while he was happy with the French champions he had been approached by former club AC Milan.
For now, though, PSG coach Laurent Blanc knows his side`s best hopes of a long run rest with Ibrahimovic being fit and firing, the reason he sat out PSG`s last game against Bordeaux after picking up an abdominal strain on international duty.
In Zlatan`s absence PSG dropped their first two points of the season in a 2-2 draw with Bordeaux after a couple of goalkeeping howlers from Kevin Trapp, but the Parisians remain top of Ligue 1 with 13 points from a possible 15.
Malmo`s ambitions are more modest.
They will arrive in Paris for their second consecutive Champions League season knowing already that there almost certainly will not be a third.
A 1-1 draw at home to title rivals Elfsborg on Saturday saw Malmo slip to fifth, seven points behind leaders AIK and Norrkoeping with seven games left to play.
Team captain Markus Rosenberg, whose magnificent display against Celtic in the home leg of their playoff got his side into the group stage, missed a penalty and saw two overhead kicks come crashing back off the crossbar on a frustrating afternoon against Elfsborg.
"It feels as if we lost the gold today," he glumly told reporters on Saturday after the game.
With Rosenberg among just a handful of players left from last season`s squad that lost five of their six Champions League group stages, the Swedes will try to contain PSG in the hope of snatching a point as they aim for third spot in a tough group containing Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The club`s stated ambition is to qualify for the Europa League and thus continue their European campaign after Christmas, with or without Norwegian coach Age Hareide.
Following Sweden`s crushing 4-1 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat by Austria, Hareide has once again been linked to the national team job should Erik Hamren quit or get fired.