Zlatan Ibrahimovic could miss the second leg of Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League quarterfinal against Chelsea after limping off in the French side’s first-leg win on Wednesday.
Ibrahimovic, 32, will undergo tests on Thursday to determine the extent of the thigh injury that forced him off 68 minutes into his team’s 3-1 triumph at the Parc des Princes, amid fears that he may even be ruled out for the rest of the season.
“He wanted to continue but I think it wasn’t reasonable,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc, who will almost certainly be without his leading scorer for next Tuesday’s second leg in London, told media afterwards. “He’ll be out for a while. I hope he’ll come back as quickly as possible as we need him for games like that.”
Should further medical examination reveal the Swede has merely strained his right hamstring, he would likely only miss this weekend’s league encounter with Reims and — most probably — the return at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, April 8. However, should doctors find a muscle tear, he would be sidelined for significantly longer.
Teammate Edinson Cavani took a month to come back from a similar injury sustained earlier this year while Thiago Silva was out for six-and-a-half weeks after suffering a hamstring tear in September. A similar layoff would mean Ibrahimovic would not only miss the end of the Ligue 1 season on May 17, but leave him unlikely to be match fit should PSG reach the Champions League final a week later.
Being unable to help his team reach the competition’s showpiece in Lisbon would be a significant blow to Ibrahimovic, who has yet to win European club football’s elite competition. Should the Swede miss the return leg in West London, Blaise Matuidi said he and the rest of his PSG teammates will try their best to make sure their star striker becomes a European champion.
“The third goal was such a relief,” the France international midfielder said after substitute Javier Pastore’s magnificent late strike at the Parc de Princes that gives the Ligue 1 champions a handy advantage before crossing the English Channel.
“We’re going to do all we can to reach the semifinals and allow Ibra to go where he dreams of going.”