PARIS: Champions Paris Saint-Germain are sweating on the fitness of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of the visit of Bastia today.
PSG trail big-spending rivals Monaco on goal difference at the top of a Ligue 1 table increasingly developing into a two-horse race, already at this early stage of the season.
Those two remain the only unbeaten sides after nine games and have both returned from the Velodrome cauldron with maximum points from a trip to their only potential challengers, Marseille.
But the news is not good for PSG as Ibrahimovic was injured when playing for Sweden last Friday.
He started training on his own on Thursday but the thigh problem could yet see him miss today’s match.
It would be a further blow for the Parisians, who will already be without suspended midfield pair Thiago Motta, who was sent-off against Marseille, and Marco Verratti, whose booking against the same team led to his ban.
Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos insists, though, that the champions have the squad to make light of any absences.
“They (Motta and Verratti) are two very important players for us but we have a big squad with quality players to replace them and in whom we have every bit of faith,” he said.
While they may be missing certain players, PSG can count on a rapidly improving Marquinhos, who said he was fatigued when he first arrived at the club from Roma at the start of the season.
“It was very difficult for me. I was out of condition when I arrived,” he said.
“Physically (I’m now at 100 percent), yes, and mentally. But I still think I can improve a lot. I’m keeping my feet on the ground and continuing to improve.”
Marquinhos, who cost 30m euros from Roma even though he is still only 19, has one eye on earning a World Cup berth with his country. “Why not? I have to dream and believe in myself. To play in the World Cup in my home country would be a dream,” he added.AFp