Can Ibrahimovic fit in at Barca after Super Cup showing?

August 24, 2009

Barcelona’s new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given a glowing report by Pep Guardiola after their Spanish Super Cup victory over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

But the doubts remain as to whether his qualities will be enough to replace or improve upon those the side have lost with the swap deal which sent former number nine Samuel Eto’o to Inter Milan.

The Swedish striker lined up from the start between Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry for the first time, and helped Barca sweep aside the visitors 3-0 to win the curtain-raiser to the new season 5-1 on aggregate.

Messi grabbed the headlines with a brace, and Ibrahimovic’s second-half replacement, Bojan Krkic, added the other goal.

“Ibrahimovic was perfect,” Guardiola said. “Everyone is worried about how he will pressure our rivals’ defences, but I have no doubts.

“Because he’s so tall he doesn’t appear very dynamic, but he will pressure as required for the team. Step by step he will adapt to our needs.”

Ibrahimovic linked up well with his team mates showing some wonderful touches, came close to scoring his first goal on a couple of occasions, and won huge cheers from the fans.

He laid off the ball for Messi’s opener and his physical presence and aerial threat give Barca a new dimension up front. But will they miss Eto’o’s aggression and that ruthless streak in front of goal?

Eto’o netted Barca’s opening goals in both their Champions League final victories against Arsenal and Manchester United.

“Without Eto’o Barca look different, with less of the fire that he gave them, but Ibrahimovic is going to have a fantastic partnership with Messi,” Alfredo Relano wrote in sports daily AS.

Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros had his reservations: “Barca’s rivals will be able to play out from the back more easily because Eto’o pressured them more. He was a pest.”

It’s early days still, but Ibrahimovic and Barca will need to click quickly with an expensively reconstructed Real Madrid raring to go when the season starts next weekend.

10 comments

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still not convinced about ibrahimovic, hes no where near to eto’o's quality.

they will regret loosing eto’o, i know that for sure i love this article http://nairasource.com/index.php?topic=6 44.0

I agree with the coach from Bilboa, Barca will miss Eto’s agression up front. When Eto played he constantly pressured the defence and goalkeeper up front, his team mates and the coach said he was the the teams first line of defense. Ibra is a good striker but I doubt he will be a tireless, pressure instigator that Eto was and this will give opposing team players greater liberty to start counterattacks.

Posted by Rafael | Report as abusive

For me, this wasn’t as much a match of individual moments as a collective display of elegance. People yell, “Why doesn’t Txiki B. sign some players?!” And I think of one Monk recording session of the tune “Brilliant Corners.”Check more at Barcelona Football Blog.

personally for me, the thought of having the barca attack and midfield shaping up like this on their strongest days is nothing short of mouth watering:ibrahimovichenry messixavi iniestay.tourehe will bring them an extra dimension to there team, but the sad fact is if they dont re-create wat they did last season in winning a treble a large chunk of the fault will land at ibra’s door, shame

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

Eto’o was a fine player for Barca but Barca will be better this season with Ibra. He is more creative and his skills are superior to Eto’os.

Posted by wanlie | Report as abusive

What Ibra will bring into Barca’s attack will be flair, elegance and flamboyance. What he will not bring into it is aggression, unmitigated pressure and killer punches that catches defences napping. Whether we like it or not,Etoo has proved his mettle in Europe. A feat which Ibra has failed to yet. This is despite playing on the big stage for at least six years now.As a true lover of Barca, i wish Ibra well and hope he succeeds. I hate to think that mid way or at the close of the season, we all will have regrets grunting ‘were Etoo to be around, the story would have been different’ I sincerely hope not.

Posted by Wilson Nakpoberuo | Report as abusive

lets be fair ibrahimovic has been the top scorer in serie a for the last 2 seasons, a league which is considered to be the most defensive in the world so i dont think you can say he hasnt proved himself at the top level, the guy is world class and i sincerely hope he proves all his doubters wrong and barcelona go on to win la liga again this season

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

ibra i think is in a league of his own.Eto was prolific poacher for barca over the years.The only problem with ibra is that he drops a little deep sometimes and tries to create something maybe or may be he still in italian seria mode where players sit back most of the times unlike la liga or the premiership.I think ibra has loads of talent but i hope the coach addresses this matter and works on it.He has the capability to score eveytime he is front of goal.genius = 99% perspiration + 1% Insipiration.

Posted by ronnie | Report as abusive

Ibra is the biggest mistake Barca has ever made. All the praise goes to Maurino for selling a used bike (Ibra) in exchange for a Ferrari (Eto’o). Maurino is really the special one. There is still hope for Ibra as he can start by playing all Barca Atletic games until Pep finds him fit for the game

Posted by Samba Coco | Report as abusive