The answer to that question appears to be yes, as high-profile signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to make his Paris Saint-Germain debut against D.C. United on Saturday night.
“He will start to train this afternoon,” said PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti of Ibrahimovic in a media conference call on Tuesday. “For the game on Saturday, I think that we have to check his physical condition, and if there are no problems maybe he can play 40, 45 minutes.”
Having won league championships at nearly every stop on a glittering club career which has taken him to massive clubs in Holland, Italy, Spain and now France, Ibra can now also claim to be the most expensive player in history, having commanded some €180 million in total transfer fees over the past 12 years after PSG completed a stunning double transfer to acquire him and defender Thiago Silva from AC Milan last week.
He is being eagerly welcomed at PSG not only for his sublime attacking skills, but the intensity and competitiveness which Ancelotti believes can help the Parisian club capture its first Ligue 1 title in nearly a decade while also mounting a sustained challenge in the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League.
“We bought Ibrahimovic because he’s a fantastic player, of course, because he has a lot of experience, because he has a really strong personality, character,” said Ancelotti. “We needed to have a striker with these characteristics and with this ability. Ibrahimovic can help the team, the club improve and be competitive in Europe.”
PSG’s big signing last summer was Javier Pastore, and Ancelotti believes the playmaker is primed for a breakout second season.
“Pastore has started really well this preseason,” said Ancelotti. “He’s working really hard. We are trying to change a little bit his position on the pitch. Last year he played more offensive and this year we decided to try to play him as a midfielder, more in the middle of the pitch. He is showing very good quality in that position.
“Last year he arrived in a new position, a new championship in a new country, and for him it was not easy to find the right way to do his best. But this season will be different and I think he will be one of the most important players for PSG.”