Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc believes Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Malmo will prove to be a special match for Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he returns to the club where he started his professional career.
The 34-year-old made his first-team debut at Malmo in 1999 and represented Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona and AC Milan before touching down at PSG in 2012.
He will return to familiar ground this week, though, and Blanc is well aware of the meaning of Wednesday’s encounter for his star striker.
“Of course this will be a big game for Zlatan,” Blanc said. “We knew that this [draw] would lead to two great and special games for him. We see Zlatan every day and we know that he is a person and not a machine.
“It is of course fantastic for him to get this chance, so we fully understand that this is unreal for him, but we’re aiming to win. We respect Malmo, but we want to win. I hope that Zlatan and the others can play really well and make this a special game.”
PSG will be wearing a special jersey to honour the victims of this month’s terror attack in the French capital and Blanc has admitted it has not been easy for his players to remain focused on playing football.
“You all know what has happened in Paris so preparations have been difficult. The situation is very special and of course we have been very moved by what happened,” he added.
“With time everything will be back to something more normal, and I think that is very important. With our shirts [bearing the logo ‘Je suis Paris’] we want to show our compassion, solidarity and love.”