Paris: Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. "As the different tests carried out this morning on the problem with his left heel were not satisfactory, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out of the match against Barcelona," said a statement released by PSG on Monday.
Ibrahimovic, who played for Barcelona in the 2009-10 season, had already missed his club's last two games in Ligue 1. Without him, Laurent Blanc's side performed poorly in a 1-1 draw at Toulouse on Saturday and they are under pressure to get a result against the Catalans after opening their Group F campaign with a 1-1 draw with Ajax in Amsterdam two weeks ago.
Ibrahimovic is joined on the sidelines by captain and centre-back Thiago Silva, who has not played since early August because of a thigh injury, and Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, who has a hamstring problem. However, Blanc said that he was not surprised at the news his Swedish talisman would miss the encounter and remains hopeful his side can get a result in his absence.
"This morning he was having treatment but in truth I had already started to prepare for this game knowing that he probably wouldn't be there," Blanc told a press conference at the Parc des Princes on Monday afternoon. "It certainly won't be easy, we know that. Last year we played difficult games without Ibra. "We have other attacking players of great quality and we will need to compensate for his absence by producing an even better team performance."
Blanc added that Ibrahimovic faces a race against time to be ready in time for next Sunday's home meeting with Monaco, PSG's final outing before the October international break. "We will see how it evolves, but obviously the medical staff are doing all they can to get him ready," he said. Last season, Paris beat Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final tie but Ibrahimovic picked up an injury in that game and missed the return, which Chelsea won 2-0 to advance on away goals.
Barcelona's French defender Jeremy Mathieu admitted that the absence of Ibrahimovic was good news for the away side. "It is an advantage for us. He has a massive influence on their game and makes the difference in practically every match," said Mathieu.