Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to miss Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Chelsea and spend the next four weeks on the sidelines due to a thigh injury.
Star frontman Ibrahimovic was forced off during the second half of Wednesday night’s first leg at the Parc des Princes, where the French champions beat their Premier League opponents 3-1 to seize a commanding lead to take to London.
The major setback for the Swedish striker and his club was announced by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi on French radio station RMC on Thursday.
Al-Khelaifi said on Thursday afternoon: "He is doing an MRI now. I think he will need a minimum of four weeks (out of action)."
Asked if there was any chance he could play on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge, Al-Khelaifi said: "It’s impossible."
The Parisians had feared the worst while hoping for positive news.
Speaking after the first-leg win, midfielder Thiago Motta said: "Ibra? It’s complicated, we will wait and hope it is not too serious."
And manager Laurent Blanc left no doubt over how important he considers Ibrahimovic, saying: ”We need him, but we had to deal with this situation during the game.”
Thursday brought the grim news that the 32-year-old will miss critical games that will define the level of success PSG achieve this season.
The Ligue 1 title is all but wrapped up, and second-placed Monaco will know PSG’s supremacy – they hold a 13-point lead – is highly unlikely to come under threat over the last seven rounds of games.
Ibrahimovic has scored at close to a goal-a-game rate this season, but a four-week absence would mean him missing not only the Chelsea game but also potentially both legs of a Champions League semifinal, plus the Coupe de la Ligue final against Lyon on April 19.
Motta thinks the first-leg success against Chelsea demonstrated PSG’s character – both with and without Ibrahimovic.
Eden Hazard’s penalty had given the Blues a potentially vital away goal, but Javier Pastore’s brilliant stoppage-time solo goal, added to earlier strikes from Ezequiel Lavezzi and a David Luiz own goal, saw PSG take a two-goal advantage.
Motta told L’Equipe: "This is a good result, but it is still nothing done, there is another 90 minutes. They remain the favorites, they have such an experience in European Cups, such players. They will be even better on hostile terrain next week.
"The last 30 minutes of the first period (in Paris), they were huge. There were so many key things that happened in the game – the penalty that wasn’t given to (Edinson) Cavani, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic’s injury – but we showed we knew how to react and recover."