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Ibrahimovic to miss Barcelona clash

(CNN) -- AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been ruled out of a return to his former club Barcelona when the group stage of the European Champions League kicks off on Tuesday.

The Sweden international, who spent just one season in Spain following his big-money move from Milan's city rivals Internazionale in 2009, suffered a thigh injury in training on Monday.

"The tests carried out showed that the player has a strain in his thigh muscle and will not be leaving for Barcelona with the rest of the squad. He will rest for a few days and then start his treatment towards the end of the week," the Italian club's website reported.

Ibrahimovic's absence could mean a reprieve for Italy international Antonio Cassano, who was expected to make way for Brazil star Alexandre Pato despite scoring in the club's Serie A opener on Friday. Ibrahimovic also netted in that game, a 2-2 draw with Lazio.

AC Milan fight back to draw with Lazio

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta said he was disappointed that his former teammate would not be lining up at the Camp Nou against the tournament's defending champions.

"It's a pity that he can't play -- he's a great player and you always want to play against good players. He really wanted to come and play, and it's a shame he can't make it. However, I don't think that takes anything away from the game, which should be fantastic," Iniesta told reporters at a pre-match press conference.

Iniesta will renew his rivalry with Milan's Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel, with whom he clashed during the 2010 World Cup final.

"It's true that during the final there was some rough play, but I prefer to think there was no malicious intent. He's an opponent, but above all we are professional companions and I respect him in all respects," said Iniesta, who scored the only goal of the match in Johannesburg in extra-time.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola is expected to recall two-time world player of the year Lionel Messi, who was rested for Saturday's shock 2-2 draw with Real Sociedad.

The Argentina forward will make his first competitive outing against the seven-time European champions, as he bids to be the competition's top scorer for the fourth season in a row.

Barca will be without new signing Alexis Sanchez, with the Chile midfielder expected to be sidelined for two months after tearing a thigh muscle against Sociedad as the Catalan team dropped their first points of the La Liga season.

The match is the pick of Tuesday's ties, with Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic hosting BATE Borisov of Belarus in the other Group H fixture.

In Group E, English club Chelsea host Germany's Bayer Leverkusen, while Spanish side Valencia travel to Belgium to play Genk.

Chelsea's build-up has been marred by a controversy over $80 million striker Fernando Torres, who supposedly criticized "older" teammates in an interview with Spain's Primera Liga website which was translated to English on his personal Internet page.

"We are going in-depth to regain the tape of that interview. We'll see if things play exactly as they are in that interview," said the London team's manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Torres was dropped for Saturday's win at Sunderland, having earlier lost his place in the Spain squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Liechtenstein.

Group F sees another England-Germany clash as Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund host Arsenal, while French runners-up Marseille visit Greece's Olympiakos.

In Group G, Portuguese champions Porto welcome Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk, and Apoel of Cyprus host Russia's Zenit St. Petersburg.


source: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/football/09/12/football.milan.barcelona.champions.league/index.html

Written by : Rinda Marestiani - Blogger

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