Ibrahimovic not obsessed by Champions League
Updated: February 14, 2012, 04:19
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MILAN(AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic maintains the Champions League is not a personal obsession as he attempts to help AC Milan get over its hoodoo against English clubs starting this week.
Milan has been eliminated at the last-16 stage of the Champions League by English clubs in three of the past four seasons, with Arsenal beating the Italian champions 2-0 at the San Siro in 2008.
"Many years ago the Champions League was my goal to win at all costs,'' Ibrahimovic told the Champions League magazine. "But if you blow it up into something gigantic or make it too important, you'll end up never winning it.
"Now I aim to win every trophy I can. If I win, good. If I don't win, I don't win. And this does not diminish my career. If I retired today I would say I was very happy about my career, I have achieved all I could have.''
Milan heads into the Arsenal match in high spirits, having regained its position atop Serie A with a 2-1 victory at Udinese on Saturday, and with its lengthy list of absent players finally starting to relent.
Christian Abbiati, Alessandro Nesta, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Mathieu Flamini and Mario Yepes have all returned to training and are likely to be available, while Sweden striker Ibrahimovic is back from a domestic ban.
"You win titles because you play with champions - they are the people that allow you to win, it is not an individual matter,'' Ibrahimovic said. "My goal has always been to become as complete a player as possible. I have succeeded, I know what I can do and I am ready to sacrifice for the good of the team. You do not win because you are No. 1, but because the team is No. 1.''
Ibrahimovic, who has five goals in as many Champions League appearances this season, scored twice against Milan two years ago when he was playing for Barcelona in the quarterfinals.
Arsenal have come out on top in four of its past six visits to Italy and have happy memories of San Siro as, before the win over Milan, it also beat Inter Milan 5-1.
Thierry Henry struck a hat trick that day and a repeat performance would be a dream scenario in what will be his last match in a relatively successful loan spell at Arsenal before he returns to the New York Red Bulls.
However, the Gunners great claims the notion of giving Arsenal fans a parting gift is not playing on his mind.
"I have not thought about it,'' Henry said. "I just want to help Arsenal on the night. I am an Arsenal player for one more game. Milan is Milan. It is another type of game and it is never easy to win away in the Champions League.
"You can always do better, that is what I tell myself. We will see after the last game against Milan how (the loan spell) was for me.''
Arsenal will be without Per Mertesacker after the Germany defender damaged ankle ligaments at the weekend.