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Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique praises Lionel Messi ahead of his side's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.
Luis Enrique believes the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Nou Camp gives Barcelona all the impetus they need to not get complacent against Paris Saint-Germain.
Barca triumphed 3-1 in Paris last week but Enrique believes they could still be in danger if they take their foot off the gas in tonight’s second leg at the Nou Camp. Enrique specifically cited the return of former Barca striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic from suspension as a reason for vigilance.
Ibrahimovic, 33, scored 21 goals in 45 games during a solitary season in Catalonia under Pep Guardiola in 2009/10 but never adapted to Barca’s style of play and left under a considerable cloud, later mocking Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi in his autobigraphy.
Enrique said: “Ibrahimovic is a different type of striker, who is capable of scoring from anywhere. He connects with his team-mates very well and is one of the best forwards in the world today. He is no stranger to us and gives us an extra reason to play well.
Enrique has the luxury of a full squad to choose from with Dani Alves back from missing last week’s first leg through suspension, while Iniesta has been passed fit after suffering pelvic bruising in Paris and subsequently sitting out Barca’s weekend league win over Valencia.
The match-winning hero last week was Luis Suarez, who scored two brilliant goals at the Parc des Princes and then continued his hot streak with the opener in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Valencia. With five goals in his last four games, Suarez believes he is in the best form of his Barca career to date, but also admits he was not happy with his early performances.
“I am very self-critical and for a while I felt I wasn’t helping the team,” he said. “But everyone gave me support and that gave me the strength to go forward. I went a long time without playing at first and it took me a while, but now I feel I am contributing.”
PSG will be without Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta through injury, but key midfielder Marco Verratti joins Ibrahimovic in returning from suspension.