Zlatan Ibrahimovic Cleared to Play Barcelona in Champions League First Leg

Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterMarch 26, 2013

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will have two cracks at his old team, not just one.

Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain's 31-year-old star forward, has been cleared to play in the first leg of PSG's UEFA Champions League quarterfinal against Barcelona next month, according to a breaking report in French publication L'Equipe (in French).

The Swedish forward had been suspended for the first leg as part of his two-game ban stemming from a red card against Valencia in the Round of 16 (via AFP). Ibrahimovic sat out the second leg of that tie, which PSG won.

Ibrahimovic was set to sit out the first leg of the quarterfinal against Barcelona. According to France24's Dan Levy, PSG got the ban reduced due to a technicality.

Radio Catalunya report PSG made use of an error in ref report that ball was out of play for Zlatan's 91st-min foul, which PSG said was false

— danlevy1 (@danlevy1) March 26, 2013

If the report proves correct, Ibrahimovic will now have two chances to settle a score against his former team. The Swede played for Barca from 2009-11 but left the club under contentious circumstances. In a 2011 book, Ibrahimovic criticized former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, as well as star players Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

"I didn’t have a relationship with the coach," Ibrahimovic wrote. "He hardly looked at me. Messi wanted to play centre forward and got his way." In another passage, Ibrahimovic compared Messi, Xavi and Iniesta to "schoolboys" who obeyed Guardiola without question (via Daily Mail).

The first leg is scheduled for April 2 in Paris. The return leg is set for April 10 in Barcelona.