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Inter´s Ibrahimovic looking forward to meeting “the special one”

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jun 2008

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Sweden's Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said on Friday he is looking forward to linking up with his new club coach Jose Mourinho at the Italian champions after his Euro 2008 campaign.

Ibrahimovic and Sweden begin their Euro 2008 campaign in Group D next Tuesday when they face defending champions Greece in Salzburg, Austria.

But the 26-year-old said he was delighted to hear Mourinho – the self-dubbed “special one” – had been appointed the new Inter Milan coach to replace Roberto Mancini.

“Mourinho is a coach with a big reputation,” said the Swede, who won Serie A with Inter last season, at Sweden's Euro 2008 base here in south Switzerland.

“From what I hear, he has a good relationship with his players, I look forward to working with him, it's an honour when you see the titles he has won.

“I feel sorry for Mancini, he did the best he could do,” added the Swedish star, in reference to Mancini guiding Inter to three successive titles, though the first one was awarded to them because Juventus were stripped of the championship over a matchfixing scandal.

With more than 50 caps to his name, Ibrahimovic is a key forward for Sweden and says his recent knee injury should not hamper his efforts to face Greece.

“So far, I have trained every day since we have been in Lugano,” he said.

“I feel good, I come to the stadium 30 minutes before the others to have some physio, but it's OK, the pain goes up and down, it's not really a pain, it's more an irritation, I feel good and confident.”

Ibrahimovic says he is looking forward to playing alongside veteran Henrik Larsson after the former Celtic and Barcelona striker was persuaded to come out of retirement for Euro 2008.

“Every striker is important,” said Ibrahimovic.

“Everybody deserves a chance, but I have a special bond with Henrik, he is the one with whom I have played the most, but it will depend on what the coach says.”

Sweden will also face Spain and Russian in Group D of Euro 2008 being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.

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