The Champions League knock-out stages of this edition are around the corner and fans are ready to watch the best teams around the world taking on each other. Although the fans are set to miss out on a true veteran of the sport and the competition Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Champions League round of 16 ties will be resuming on February 14. All the teams remaining in the competition are reaching the deadline for submitting their final squads. Yesterday, Italian giants AC Milan submitted their 25-man final squad.
Zlatan Ibrahimović remains out of AC Milan list for the Champions League 🔴⚫️ #ACMilan
Sergino Dest has been left out — and Malick Thiaw will be his replacement. pic.twitter.com/jhvw0ArIOa
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 2, 2023
The biggest surprise was the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the final squad. Although he is not the only surprise absent. Barcelona loanee Serginho Dest also didn’t make the last 25. Most notably French goalie Mike Maignan also wasn’t named in the final squad as he is still recovering from a long-term calf injury. The mentioned calf injury was responsible for Maignan’s inability to play in the World Cup.
Zlatan has already turned 41 and he went through knee surgery last year around after helping AC Milan win a scudetto after 11 years of wait. The Swede veteran reportedly played with an injured knee and helped the club in critical situations. He only revealed his injury after the season was over. At this moment Zlatan is still recovering from the surgery.
Milan manager Stefano Pioli has talked about his reasons to leave Zlatan out of the squad. He clearly stated that it would be too much of a risk to include Zlatan for the round of 16 clash against Tottenham on February 14 at San Siro. Pioli however added that he can still be called for the squad 24 hours before the match.
When did Zlatan Ibrahimovic play last time in the Champions League?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an icon of the sport as well as the competition. He has always been ever present on the stages of the Champions League nights. Ibra has played for giant European clubs in competition throughout the years. Starting from Ajax, Inter Milan, and Barcelona he has played for the likes of PSG and AC Milan in the prestigious competition.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is doing everything he can to be fit to play against Tottenham on February 14th.
[Di Marzio] pic.twitter.com/AvfCehBGfJ
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) February 1, 2023
The last time Zlatan played in a competitive match was almost 9 months ago on May 22 of last year. He could only manage 18 minutes in the 3-0 Serie A win against Sassuolo. However, Zlatan played his last Champions League match on December 8, 2021.
In the 2021-22 edition of the Champions League AC Milan got the group of death with Atletico Madrid and Liverpool. They could manage only one win and get eliminated in the group stages. The Swede has scored 48 Champions League goals in 124 matches in the competition.
Fans will be expecting to see Zlatan return from injury in the Champions League this season itself. AC Milan is having a difficult season currently and Zlatan’s sheer presence would be a very big mental boost for the Rossoneri.
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