x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ibrahimovic completes Barca move

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has completed his move to Barcelona after the Spanish club confirmed he had signed a five-year deal to join them.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses for photographers in Barcelona after completing his part in the 'swap' deal which sees Samuel Eto'o move to his former club Inter Milan.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic poses for photographers in Barcelona after completing his part in the 'swap' deal which sees Samuel Eto'o move to his former club Inter Milan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has completed his move to Barcelona after the Spanish club confirmed he had signed a five-year deal to join them. A statement on Barcelona's website revealed they had paid Inter Milan ?46 million (Dh235m) for the Swedish striker, with Samuel Eto'o and Alexander Hleb also joining the Italian champions in the 'swap' deal. Ibrahimovic completed his medical today ? and while it showed he had a fractured left hand, a deal was struck which included an astronomical buyout clause of ?250m for the player. Barca also confirmed that Eto'o is valued at ?20m in the deal, while Inter will have the chance to buy Hleb for an initial ?10m once his season-long loan spell is concluded.

Ibrahimovic will inherit Eto`o`s No 9 shirt at Barca and becomes the Catalan giants` third signing of the summer after the arrival of Brazilian duo Maxwell and Keirrison. Maxwell was also signed from Inter for a fee that could rise to ?5m, while Keirrison has cost Barca an initial ?14m from Palmeiras but will be sent out on loan next season. "It's a very big thing for me," said Ibrahimovic. "There comes a time when you want to develop more and my desire to come to Barcelona was too big to stay at Inter." And he revealed that Inter president Massimo Moratti had given him permission to leave several months ago should an offer from Barca arrive. "Moratti helped me in every way, he did everything for me and my family," he said. "I said to Moratti a few months ago: 'Nobody can get me, only one club can get me and that's Barcelona', and he told me: 'if you want it like that you will get it like that'.

"So all my respect, because it is not easy to sell player that means so much to the team," he said. And the 27-year-old hopes to emulate Eto'o who was a prolific scorer during his time at the Spanish champions. "I'm not coming here to be Samuel Eto'o, I'm somebody else, somebody new, but I will try to achieve as much as Eto'o, or even more," he said. Barca president Joan Laporta hailed the Swede's arrival. "He is not a conformist, he is ambitious, a winner, an authentic man with strong feelings and he wanted to come to Barcelona," he said.

"(Coach) Pep (Guardiola) said that Zlatan was the ideal player for us, so we are really happy to have him here." Ibrahimovic has a fractured left hand, which was detected in today's medical, and will undergo an operation on Tuesday. The former Juventus, Ajax and Inter striker will travel with the team to the United States, but will miss the friendly with Manchester City on August 19. But Barca sporting director Txiki Begiristain announced that he is set to return for the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Bilbao four days later. * PA Sport