AC Milan

AC Milan vs Barcelona: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Will Get Revenge on Former Club

MILAN, ITALY - MARCH 24:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Milan celebrates with team-mates after scoring his first goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 24, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
Dino Panato/Getty Images
JohnCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2012

AC Milan play host to Barcelona tomorrow at San Siro in the first of a home-and-home two leg matchup. 

Since Barcelona edged AC Milan 5-4 on aggregate in the group stage, both clubs have been on a tear in Champions League Play. 

In the Round of 16, Barcelona dismantled Bayer Leverkusen 10-2 on aggregate, while AC Milan knocked out English giant Arsenal 4-3 over the two legs. 

For the third time this season the defending champions of Serie A and La Liga will play. 

Swedish international, and former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (now with AC Milan), will look to knock his former team out of the competition, and lead his new team to the semi-final round of the tournament. 

Although Barca came out on top the last time they played in Milan, where they won Group H, Ibrahimovic is confident that the Italian club can defeat the Spanish giants. 

Having left Barcelona in 2010, Ibrahimovic is still familiar with their style of play. 

Barcelona star and Argentine international, Lionel Messi is the best player in the world, but that doesn’t mean he is the only player on the field Milan needs to worry about. 

Ibrahimovic told ESPNsoccernet that Barcelona is a complete team, and dangerous as a whole:

"We have to stop Barcelona, not Messi, in the same way that Barca will have to stop Milan."

PARMA, ITALY - MARCH 17:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between Parma FC and AC Milan at Stadio Ennio Tardini on March 17, 2012 in Parma, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

This season, Ibrahimovic has been on a tear. 

He has 22 goals in 23 league matches. 

AC Milan are four points clear atop Serie A. He has found the back of the net eight times in the past nine matches for Milan, and has scored a total of 33 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions this term, including three games with the Swedish national team. Those 33 goals also include five, which came from six Champions League matches, where he also assisted on three goals.

Having come up just short against AC Milan in the previous round, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Barcelona are the favorites to win the entire competition, and Ibrahimovic and his teammates will not be able to handle them:

"Milan play well as a team and they can count on a great player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but I don't think that they are at the level required. They have some weak points."

No matter what others think, Ibrahimovic knows how important this game is if AC Milan is to rejoin other elite clubs across Europe, and is confident his club is up for the task:

"We are ready for Barcelona. If we want to win international trophies then we have to start winning these types of games."

Ibrahimovic shows up for big games, and this match with Barcelona is surely a big fixture for him. 

Before leaving Barca, his relationship with manager Pep Guardiola had gotten to the point where the two did not speak.    

AC Milan fans believe the Swedish striker is just slightly behind Messi as one of the best footballers in the world. Surely Ibrahimovic will want to put that on display in front of his fans, and likewise, against his former club and manager. 

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