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Ibrahimovic seals Barcelona move

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic was the top scorer in Serie A last season

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has signed a five-year contract with Barcelona to end his three-year spell at Inter Milan.

Barca have paid £40m while fellow striker Samuel Eto'o moves the other way to the Italian club on a five-year deal and Aleksandr Hleb joins on loan.

Ibrahimovic, 27, will be sidelined for three weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken bone in his left hand.

He said: "It feels like I'm living a dream now. It was not easy for me in the last weeks."

The deal he signed with Barcelona includes a buy-out clause of 250m euros (£216m) for the player.

Ibrahimovic, who will wear the number nine shirt, has made little secret of his desire to join the Catalan club and told Barca TV on Wednesday a deal with Inter president Massimo Moratti was key to the move.

"I made an agreement with the president of Inter that the only club they could sell me to was Barcelona," he said.

"The others could ask but they wouldn't get a reply. The only one I answered was Barca. That gives me a special feeling.

"Barca has an historic tradition. Everyone wants to be part of this great club, they've made history and I want to be part of that history."

Barca president Joan Laporta hailed the Swede's arrival, and added: "He is not a conformist, he is ambitious, a winner, an authentic man with strong feelings and he wanted to come to Barcelona."

Cameroon forward Eto'o successfully concluded initial negotiations with Inter last Thursday and it was followed by Ibrahimovic flying to the Catalan capital from the United States, where Inter are currently on tour.

Ibrahimovic, who has spent the last three seasons at Inter after moving from Juventus, picked up his injury in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea in Los Angeles last week.

606: DEBATE
mascotman

Barcelona said that it hoped Ibrahimovic would be fit for the Spanish Supercup second leg against Athletic Bilbao on 23 August.

The European and Spanish champions added that the striker would travel with the team when it sets out on its tour of the United States west coast on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic was the top scorer in Serie A last season, while Eto'o was equally prolific as Barca clinched an unprecedented treble after landing the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League crowns.

But with Eto'o, 28, only having one year left on his current deal, Barca were willing to sell.

Reports suggest he will earn about £9.6m a season, having brought an end to his five-year stay at the Nou Camp.

"I made history at Barcelona but that chapter is over," Eto'o said on the Inter Milan club website.

"At Inter I am starting a new chapter and starting from zero. I am happy with this new adventure and hope everything goes well. I won a lot at Barcelona and I hope to do so in these colours."

Belarus midfielder Hleb has joined Inter on loan for the season after which the Italian club will have the chance to buy the player for 10m euros (£8.6m).



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see also
Barca & Inter agree striker swap
17 Jul 09 |  Europe
Man City pull plug on Eto'o move
10 Jul 09 |  Man City
Eto'o the Great
28 May 09 |  African


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