Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to sit out AC Milan’s Champions League clash with Liverpool on Wednesday after picking up an untimely Achilles injury.
The Rossoneri are due at Anfield for a heavyweight opener to their 2021-22 group-stage campaign.
Stefano Pioloi’s side will, however, have to make do without the services of the mercurial Swedish striker, with Ibrahimovic picking up an untimely knock that will lead to him being left behind in Italy.
What has been said?
Pioli told Sky Sport Italia of losing Ibrahimovic ahead of an eagerly-anticipated encounter: “He ended Milan-Lazio with tendon inflammation, today he tried to train but will not be risked.”
Ibrahimovic’s injury record
As he approaches the end of a distinguished career, niggling knocks have become a familiar problem for Ibrahimovic to contend with.
He missed the start of the current campaign with Milan after working his way back from a knee complaint that first laid him low back in May and forced him to miss Euro 2020.
Various other ailments, from coronavirus to calf complaints, have led to the veteran frontman sitting out 28 games since the start of the 2020-21 season.
Achilles issues have not tended to be a problem, one stint on the sidelines at the LA Galaxy aside, and an ability to keep himself healthy has allowed an enigmatic presence to prolong his playing days towards a 40th birthday on October 3.
Klopp’s take on Ibrahimovic
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s game, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed the 39-year-old.
“Zlatan, what a player! What a player!” Klopp told reporters. “I think I saw a few injuries when he got injured a few months ago. I’m not sure if he had the surgery, but I saw a video of him on the spinning bike, fighting back, saying ‘lions don’t rest for long’ or whatever.
“And he is always right! He came on now in the last game after a long time and scored immediately. He’s the man for exceptional moments in games.
“If he’s not playing then probably Olivier Giroud plays or [Ante] Rebic is playing. All slightly different profiles but all good.
“It will be interesting, but Zlatan is for sure one of the best players ever in this game. He knows that and he says that to everybody – and I like that about him! That’s the confidence he brings in all the games.
“That he’s still physically that fit is just incredible and shows that some careers ended too early, because there is a little bit of fuel in the tank and he squeezes every last drop out of his body and wants to stay in the game as long as possible.
“Rightly so. He is absolutely capable of playing in each league in the world. Absolutely exceptional.”