Ibrahimovic gets a rousing welcome at Barcelona | india | Hindustan Times
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Ibrahimovic gets a rousing welcome at Barcelona

india Updated: Jul 28, 2009 15:58 IST

More than 50,000 Barcelona fans welcomed star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the club, in the most spectacular presentation ever organised by the Catalan giants.

Ibrahimovic on Monday came close to pulling as massive a crowd as did Cristiano Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player, when presented by Real Madrid in June.

Barca president Joan Laporta introduced the Swedish striker by describing him as "one of the most important signings in the history of this club ... He is ambitious, a winner, and he has made it clear for a while that he wanted to come here."

Laporta added that "this is a historic day for Barca. We hope to carry on winning and to be even more competitive, and the signing of Ibrahimovic will make this possible."

It fell to Barca sporting director Txiki Begiristain to give the media the bad news that the club's medical staff had decided Ibrahimovic would undergo an operation on his left hand on Tuesday, and would not be fit to make his Barca debut until late August.

The Swedish striker suffered a minor broken bone in his left hand while playing in a friendly for Inter Milan against Chelsea last week.

Begiristain said Ibrahimovic was "the best option that we could find in the world to replace (Samuel) Eto'o", who has controversially been off-loaded to Inter in part exchange for the Swede.

Barca have paid Inter around 45 million euros ($63.94 million) for Ibrahimovic -- top scorer in the Italian league last season -- plus Eto'o and the loan of Alexander Hleb for one season.

Ibrahimovic, 27, told the media: "I am not the substitute for Eto'o. I am something different. I am here to work, and this is a dream for me. I am pleased that this agreement has been made."

He added that "to play for Barcelona is a great honour ... I hope to become a better player here."