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Zlatan Ibrahimović is enjoying a particularly prolific year at AC Milan yet he accepts it will require a complete team performance to overcome FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Milan met Barcelona in the group stage earlier this season, drawing 2-2 away but losing to the odd goal in five at home. A repeat result at San Siro on Wednesday must be avoided, says Ibrahimović. "We can't lose at home again. We have to play our football and only after the final whistle will we know if things have gone for us," said the Sweden forward. "I will go onto the pitch to do my best. We hope for a positive outcome."
Ibrahimović knows all about the strength of the European champions, having spent a season at Camp Nou in 2009/10, and he believes his team have to produce "a perfect game" to advance to the last four. His Barcelona experience may have lasted just a year, yet Ibrahimović has since become a talisman for Milan, scoring 29 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this term.
With such an impressive strike rate, it is no surprise he has been Milan's match winner so often. He was at it again on Saturday, notching both Rossoneri goals in the 2-1 home victory against AS Roma. "The most important thing for me is just to play well and win with the club," he said. "When I perform, it's thanks to my team-mates who help me and help me play my best. Nothing is completely down to me. You win together, you lose together."
The 30-year-old recalls his time in Spain with a tinge of regret, but is now interested only in overcoming his erstwhile employers with the Serie A leaders. "It was a pity to stay just a single season in Barcelona, but I can say I played for the greatest team in the world. There's no need to prove anything against them, I just want to play well.
"My future for the next two years is here in Milan," continued Ibrahimović, whose former clubs also include Malmö FF, AFC Ajax, Juventus and FC Internazionale Milano. "I'm happy to play at a fantastic club where I feel really comfortable."
Although many see Milan as underdogs in this tie, the Rossoneri have never lost at home in a European Cup quarter-final. Ibrahimović hopes the storied past of the seven-time continental champions will inspire Massimiliano Allegri's team to fresh success. "
The tradition and history of this club force us to play at full throttle in the Champions League. We need to keep following this path."
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