x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Ibrahimovic set for Barca debut

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on course to make his Barcelona debut in next week's Joan Gamper Trophy match against Manchester City.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on course to make his Barcelona debut in next week's Joan Gamper Trophy match against Manchester City. Ibrahimovic has been sidelined since his big-money move from Inter Milan last month as he underwent an operation on his fractured left hand the day after his presentation to fans. The Sweden international was unable to play during the treble winners' three-match tour to the United States, and will also miss Sunday's Spanish Supercup first leg against Athletic Bilbao.

However, Ibrahimovic may not have to wait much longer for his first appearance for the Catalan giants, with Barca club doctor Ricard Pruna confirming that the striker can take a full part in training this morning and should be available for next Wednesday's friendly against their English Premier League visitors at the Nou Camp. "He can exercise next to the rest of his teammates in contact, in this case with a smaller splint [on the hand]," said Pruna, who added on his club's website that Ibrahimovic could "play some minutes in the Gamper".

Ibrahimovic joined Barcelona in a ?66million (Dh343m) cash-plus-player swap that also saw Samuel Eto'o, valued at ?20m, go the other way to join the Serie A champions. Meanwhile, Barca could also be without Thierry Henry for this weekend's trip to Bilbao, with the striker suffering from Achilles tendon problems that forced him to withdraw from the France squad on Monday. Lionel Messi could also be a doubt for Barcelona as a leg muscle injury forced him to pull out of Argentina's friendly with Russia, and while the move to withdraw him was a precautionary measure, it still raises concerns on his fitness.

Elsewhere, Real Betis have agreed to sell Chilean winger Mark Gonzalez to CSKA Moscow, the Spanish second division club have confirmed. Gonzalez, 25, joined Betis from Liverpool in 2007 for ?6m and is believed to be making the move to Russia for the same fee as he departs the side who were relegated from the Primera Liga last season. Meanwhile, Italian football should restore foreign player quotas to ensure domestic talent has the chance to flourish, the head of the nation's professional footballers association (AIC), Sergio Campana, has said.

"Useless foreign players have been flooding our championship for ages, making club presidents spend too much and taking places from Italians, who are often better." "I'm going to propose the introduction of a limit on foreigners in the regulations." * With agencies