The marque matchup on Champions League match day two is Barcelona’s trip to the Parc des Princes to play French giants Paris Saint-Germain. Barca’s trip will be a little easier with the news that PSG star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday’s match due to a nagging heel problem.
“As the different tests carried out this morning on the problem with his left heel were not satisfactory, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out of the match against Barcelona,” said a statement released by PSG on Monday.
After drawing their Group F match 1-1 with Ajax, the pressure is on PSG as a defeat on Tuesday will in essence give Barca first place in the group and an easier matchup in the knockout round next year.
Ibrahimovic is joined on the sidelines by captain and centre-back Thiago Silva, who has not played since early August because of a thigh injury, and Argentinian forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, who has a hamstring problem. However, coach Laurent Blanc said that he was not surprised at the news his Swedish talisman would miss the encounter and remains hopeful his side can get a result in his absence.
“This morning he was having treatment but in truth I had already started to prepare for this game knowing that he probably wouldn’t be there,” Blanc told a press conference at the Parc des Princes on Monday afternoon.
“It certainly won’t be easy, we know that. Last year we played difficult games without Ibra. We have other attacking players of great quality and we will need to compensate for his absence by producing an even better team performance.”
Blanc added that Ibrahimovic faces a race against time to be ready in time for next Sunday’s home meeting with Monaco, PSG’s final outing before the October international break.
“We will see how it evolves, but obviously the medical staff are doing all they can to get him ready,” he said.
Last season, PSG beat Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final tie but Ibrahimovic picked up an injury in that game and missed the return, which Chelsea won 2-0 to advance on away goals. Barcelona’s French defender Jeremy Mathieu admitted that the absence of Ibrahimovic was good news for the away side.
“It is an advantage for us. He has a massive influence on their game and makes the difference in practically every match,” Mathieu said.