Ibra needs more than jeers to prove his worth

September 17, 2009

Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ignored the predictable boos on his first return to Inter Milan without answering the sceptics who still doubt his ability to finally make a mark in Europe.

Wednesday’s 0-0 draw in the Champions League Group F opener prompted more questions than answers for both sides, even if Barca shaded the contest in terms of chances and technical ability.

Swede Ibrahimovic hopes his pre-season swap deal with Samuel Eto’o can turn him into one of the most feared strikers in the continent after invariably flattering to deceive for Inter in the Champions League.

His talents in domestic soccer are undoubted, given he inspired Inter to three Italian titles, and he was fully prepared for jeers from parts of the San Siro.

“Some whistled, it’s normal when you lose a player you did not want to lose,” he told reporters. “With a bit of luck I could even have scored.”

In truth, Ibrahimovic snatched at a good early chance and generally failed to impose himself despite some tidy link-up play.

“I’m very happy, in my opinion we have players better than Inter,” he said.

Eto’o, who scored the opener when Barca beat Manchester United 2-0 to lift the trophy last May, put in a similarly indifferent performance as Ibrahimovic against his former side.

“It was difficult for him. But he worked hard for the team and that’s why I like Samuel,” Inter coach Jose Mourinho told a news conference after refusing to comment on Ibrahimovic’s display.

PHOTO: Inter Milan’s Walter Samuel (R) challenges Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Barcelona during their Champions League soccer match at the San Siro Stadium in Milan September 16, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

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