Paris Saint-Germain’s opportunity to qualify for the last-16 tonight is being overshadowed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s homecoming. The big Swede is making a long awaited return to Malmo – the club where it all began for him.
This is a massive deal in his native Sweden with the striker even hiring a giant screen to show the game in the city’s main square. Despite the bitterly cold conditions, around 5,000 – 10,000 people are expected to turn up, not to mention the stadium itself, which will be packed to the rafters.
In the midst of a jam-packed media room for the pre-match presser yesterday, the veteran – who is more than likely playing his last ever-competitive game at the Swedbank Stadion – said he feels as if he has come full circle. He told the press; “I’ve already had a chance to meet up with several people who work at the club. I always have a bit of a surreal feeling when I come back here. I’m not anxious, I just can’t wait to play the match. Now I play for Paris, and it’s incredible to come back to Malmo. I have the impression that I’m really coming full circle, and I’ll try to make the most of it. What’s for sure is that it will remain a huge moment in my career.”
Although this will be somewhat of an emotional occasion for the player and the hosts, Les Parisiens still have a job to do. There is the chance to seal our place in the last-16 with victory. Coach Laurent Blanc epitomised that point to the press by saying; “Over and above the emotional aspect, this match is our chance to make sure we make it through to the next round. I hope that the pitch will allow us to play our trademark style. We’ll need to show our opponents that we’ve come here to win.”
We will have to once again make do without Javier Pastore, Marco Verratti, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Serge Aurier due to injury. David Luiz is missing due to suspension.