Champions League - Ibrahimovic plays down Barca spite

Mon, 21 Nov 12:48:00 2011

Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic says there will be nothing personal about the Champions League match against Barcelona, the club he left in acrimonious circumstances 18 months ago.

Zalatan Ibrahimovic Milan 2011 - 0

Ibrahimovic missed the 2-2 draw at Nou Camp earlier in Group H and will now have to make do with a match that is reduced to a virtual friendly after both sides qualified for the last 16 in the previous round of games.

"I was disappointed but for me playing against a former team is nothing personal," the volatile Swede told UEFA.com. "Of course it's emotional, a big game, but in the end it's like any other game. There's no need to over-hype it."

Ibrahimovic fell out with Barca coach Pep Guardiola when he was offloaded at the end of the 2009/10 season, calling him "the philosopher who has shattered my dream".

"Even when I left the team, I knew I'd left the best team in the world," said the 30-year-old.

"But, for me and all the other parties involved, I think the best solution was to leave the club. Given the results for both sides, it was the best solution.

"I think Milan are the biggest club I have ever played with," added Ibrahimovic, who won three Italian titles with arch-rivals Inter Milan before his spell with Barcelona.

"I felt at home from my first day here - they welcomed me with open arms.

"I think this game is more about prestige," he added. "It's good to come first, but sometimes it's good to come second; both can be positive or negative."

Barcelona lead Milan by two points and will guarantee top spot if they win on Wednesday.

Reuters

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