Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Sweden hope Ibrahimovic can sparkle now Milan are out

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Phil O’Connor

There was one soccer coach just as happy as Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola on Tuesday when his side knocked AC Milan out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

That man is Sweden coach Erik Hamren.

With Euro 2012 approaching fast, Hamren will be quietly pleased that top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be involved in the final in Munich on May 19 and can instead avoid injury and stay fresh.

Zlatan may not be as pleased. Having won a slew of titles with Juventus, Inter, Barcelona and Milan, “that damn Champions League” (as he once referred to it) remains beyond his grasp.

In a recent interview with a UEFA magazine he changed his tune somewhat, saying he is happy with his career regardless of whether or not he wins Europe’s premier club competition.

Ibrahimovic answers critics but questions remain about Milan

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Phil O’Connor

It’s taken a long time, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has finally delivered a performance worthy of his talent against an English team in the Champions League.

Long scoffed at by British fans and journalists  for his pale imitation of a  top-class striker in Europe’s top competition, Zlatan delivered something of a virtuoso performance as Milan thrashed Arsenal 4-0 at the San Siro, rendering the last 16 return leg in London next month all but meaningless.

Sweden boosted by Guidetti and Ibra displays

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By Phil O’Connor

Under normal circumstances Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s dipping first-half free kick in AC Milan’s 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday would have been enough to give Sweden coach Erik Hamren a pleasant end to the weekend.

But if Hamren had been watching Feyenoord beat Ajax in in Holland’s Eredivisie on Saturday he would have seen another Swede, John Guidetti, net a hat-trick as Feyenoord won 4-2, giving him a mouthwatering selection problem ahead of Euro 2012.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

The strange story of Ibra and Pep

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As Barcelona close in on the signing of Javier Mascherano from Liverpool, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future at the club seems to becoming ever more complicated.

Coach Pep Guardiola’s decision to move for the combative Mascherano is understandable after Yaya Toure’s departure to Manchester City.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why Henry’s move might not kickstart transfer window

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Barcelona's Thierry Henry is heading to New York Red Bulls in a widely expected move but don't think the first big post-World Cup transfer means the window will suddenly be awash with deals.

An event before the World Cup is a major reason why Henry has decided to follow David Beckham's lead and try out MLS. David Villa's early move to Barca from Valencia meant there was no room for Henry at the Nou Camp and after France's flop in South Africa there were few other interested parties.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Who will win the battle between Ibra and Eto’o?

Boy, the Champions League is back with a bang. How much juicier can you get than holders Barcelona at Inter Milan in their first game?  

If the Spanish champions against their Italian counterparts wasn't enough, we've got the added spice of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o playing against their former clubs at the first possible opportunity following their extraordinary close-season swap deal.

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