Guardiola disappointed not to be facing Ibrahimovic in Barcelona-Milan tie

Barcelona Coach Pep Guardiola is disappointed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Milan’s Champions League group stage clash on Tuesday.

The Italian champions announced on Monday afternoon that the 29-year-old will miss the encounter with his former side having injured an abductor muscle in training.

Guardiola, who Ibra has specifically cited as the reason his 12 months in La Liga were viewed as unsuccessful, said it was a shame he would not be facing the striker for the Group H clash.

“Football belongs exclusively to the players. People come to the stadium to see the best and Ibra is one of the them, one of the most important for Milan. It is always better to play against the whole team, so it is a pity he could not make it.”

Speaking in the pre-match Press conference, Guardiola gave his view on Ibrahimovic’s comments over the past year that have pointed towards a poor relationship with him:

“The (only) important opinion for me is my own. Before I came here I thought he was fantastic and after getting to know him he was even better. He’s a player on another level. I appreciate how much he gave us, I know he is happy in Italy and I’m glad for him.”

The Barca Coach looked towards his opponents with respect: “They have always been a big team and [we expect] a spirited game. We do not know if [losing Ibrahimovic] will change the way they will play.

“[Massimiliano] Allegri did say, however, that they will come to create problems, not prevent them. I think this will be a nice match because Milan are always looking to play the game. They have fantastic players, in defence and attack.”

Allegri did intend to play Ibrahimovic in attack with Alexandre Pato, but is expected to now field the Brazilian in a lone-striker role, supported by a five-man midfield.

Barcelona welcome back Carles Puyol to the first team after his delayed involvement this season.

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