Ibrahimovic eases up on trash talk

MILAN - Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has calmed an escalating war of words with former club Inter Milan ahead of today's Champions League match at the San Siro.

MILAN - Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has calmed an escalating war of words with former club Inter Milan ahead of today's Champions League match at the San Siro.

When Barcelona were paired with Inter in Group F, the focus turned to Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o, who swapped clubs in the offseason with Inter getting an additional ß66million (R721million).

Recently, the Swede claimed that Inter only won their three most recent Serie A titles because of him, while Inter coach Jose Mourinho hit back by saying that he got the better part of the deal.

On the eve of the match, though, Ibrahimovic said how much he is looking forward to his return to the San Siro.

"It will be a touching moment to go back," Ibrahimovic said yesterday. "I feel very emotional about returning. I spent three seasons with Inter and I am delighted to have another chance to play in their stadium.

"It will not be easy, especially as they have strengthened this season and will make things hard for us."

Under Mourinho, Ibrahimovic scored 25 goals last season and was the league's leading scorer. For Barcelona, the striker has scored twice in two league games.

Eto'o, meanwhile, has made an excellent start as Ibrahimovic's replacement at Inter, scoring twice and linking up well with Diego Milito, who has also scored two.

The run continues Eto'o's excellent form from his days at Barcelona, where he scored 35 times, including the opener in the last Champions League final.

"I didn't dream about meeting Barcelona, however it is a pleasure to play against them and to be able to return to the Camp Nou, which is a home to me," Eto'o said. "Barcelona is the best team in the world and we have a slight chance of beating them. We can do it and we have a chance of winning." In the other Group F match, Dynamo Kiev host Russian champions Rubin Kazan.

Andriy Shevchenko, who scored the winning penalty for AC Milan in the 2003 final, will play his first match for Dynamo since leading the team to the 1999 Champions League semifinals.

Today's full fixtures

Dynamo Kiev v Rubin Kazan, Inter Milan v Barcelona, Liverpool v Debrecen, Lyon v Fiorentina , Olympiakos v AZ, Sevilla v Unirea Urziceni, Standard Liege v Arsenal, VfB Stuttgart v Rangers.

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