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Zlatan Ibrahimovic expected to miss Man Utd first leg in Europa League

90min logo 90min 1/3/2021 Jamie Spencer
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has suffered a thigh injury | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images © Provided by 90min Zlatan Ibrahimovic has suffered a thigh injury | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to miss next week’s reunion with former club Manchester United in the Europa League last 16 because of a thigh injury the veteran Swede suffered while in action in Serie A against Roma on Sunday.

Milan won the game but Ibrahimovic limped off the pitch early in the second half and proceeded to sit on the bench with an ice pack on his left thigh.

Ibrahimovic had ice on his thigh after coming off on Sunday | TIZIANA FABI/Getty Images © TIZIANA FABI/Getty Images Ibrahimovic had ice on his thigh after coming off on Sunday | TIZIANA FABI/Getty Images

It is unclear how long the 39-year-old will be sidelined for, although the Daily Mail reports that he will be assessed again in 10 days’ time, the day of the game at Old Trafford. That makes his inclusion in that contest unlikely, while for now he is also a doubt for the return leg a week later.

Ibrahimovic has already missed 11 games through injury so far this season. He has scored 14 goals in 14 Serie A appearances, but none since 7 February. His first 10 goals were actually scored in the opening eight games of the season and he has only scored in two games since his layoff.

Ibrahimovic also hasn’t scored in the Europa League since a qualifying tie against Irish club Shamrock Rovers in September. However, his expected absence at Old Trafford still comes as a huge blow to Milan in what is the Rossoneri’s biggest European fixture in years.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wearing a black shirt: Ibrahimovic is likely to miss the return to Old Trafford | James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images © James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images Ibrahimovic is likely to miss the return to Old Trafford | James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

It will also be a personal blow to Ibrahimovic. He scored 28 goals across all competitions in his only full season with United in 2016/17, with injury prematurely ending a successful spell in Manchester.

The former Juventus, Inter and PSG star was thought to be winding down his career and nearing retirement when he opted to join LA Galaxy in MLS in 2018, but he has proven the doubters wrong since returning to Europe with Milan over the last 14 months.

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