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Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss AC Milan's Champions League return against Liverpool due to tight Achilles tendon... despite making scoring comeback from four-month injury lay-off at the weekend

Daily Mail
Daily Mail
 2021-09-14

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss AC Milan's first Champions League game in seven-and-a-half years when they face Liverpool on Wednesday due to a tight Achilles tendon.

The 39-year-old forward only made his return from a four-month lay-off with a knee injury on Sunday in his first Serie A appearance of the new season.

And he marked the occasion seven minutes after his introduction from the bench by scoring the second goal in Milan's 2-0 win against Lazio at San Siro.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss AC Milan's return to the Champions League against Liverpool
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Ibrahimovic made a goalscoring return against Lazio on Sunday after a four-month knee injury

But the Swedish striker will have to sit out their opening European fixture in Group B against Jurgen Klopp's men at Anfield, and will stay in Italy as a precautionary measure.

It comes as a blow for Stefano Pioli's men, with the Swede - who turns 40 next month - having scored 48 times in 120 appearances in the Champions League to date.

Milan however will welcome Olivier Giroud back for the game, after the France forward spent the international break in isolation due to a positive coronavirus test at the start of this month.

Reds boss Klopp has also paid tribute to former Manchester United and PSG forward Ibrahimovic, lauding him as 'exceptional' and one of the best ever.

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But he will miss Wednesday's clash at Liverpool as a precaution due to a tight Achilles tendon
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Reds boss Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to the 'exceptional' Swede before the game at Anfield

'What a player, what a player!' the German boss stated in his pre-match press conference.

'I saw some videos of him a few months ago when he was injured, he is always alright, came on and scored immediately. He is a man for exceptional moments in the game, Giroud is slightly different.

'One of the best players ever in this game. He knows that and I like that about him. Physically he shows it and he’s got one of the best careers.

'He squeezes every drop out of his game, and rightly so - he is absolutely capable to play in any league in the world and that is exceptional.'

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The Serie A giants will however welcome fellow striker Olivier Giroud back from coronavirus

AC Milan last played a Champions League match in March 2014, when they went out at the last-16 stage to Atletico Madrid, who along with Porto also figure in their group this season.

But Pioli's side ensured they would end that run of not playing in Europe's premier club competition after finishing second in Serie A behind rivals Inter last season.

Ibrahimovic had a big hand in helping them seal the runners-up spot after finishing as the club's top scorer in 2020-21 with 15 league goals in 19 games and 17 across all competitions.

The former Barcelona man then chose to extend his stay at San Siro to beyond his 40th birthday after signing a one-year extension in April.

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Ibrahimovic has scored 48 times in 120 appearances in the Champions League to date

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