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Ibra and Eto'o swap shirts
Mammoth swap between Inter and Barca raises question of who got the best deal.
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2009 06:52 GMT

Ibrahimovic makes himself at home [AFP]
Inter Milan and Barcelona completed the rare feat of swapping one superstar for another when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o changed places – with Eto'o also arriving at the San Siro with a sack of Euros and Aleksandr Hleb tucked under one arm.

On the face of it Inter appear to have done much the better out of the deal, with the European champions paying them $66million on top of the $20million-rated Cameroon striker, and loaning them Hleb for a season.

Some commentators have wondered how Eto'o will fit in with coach Jose Mourinho's plans – not least Mourinho himself, who said he was "not Harry Potter" when asked how he would get his side to gel without talismanic Swede Ibrahimovic.

Cash splash

But it could be said that $66million for Ibrahimovic on his own is plenty, let alone throwing in a striker fresh from scoring in the Champions League final and with 108 goals in 145 appearances for the Catalans.

Ibrahimovic has 57 in 88 for Inter.

Whoever the winner, the deal was done on Monday, with Sweden striker Ibrahimovic appearing before 50,000 fans at the Nou Camp and Eto'o due to be unveiled on Tuesday.

The two forwards signed five-year contracts, both clubs said in statements.

Italian champions Inter, who have yet to confirm Belarusian Hleb's arrival, will have the chance to buy the former Arsenal player for $14million plus variables next year.

Barca added that Ibrahimovic, 27, needs immediate surgery on a broken bone in his left hand.

'Something new'

"I'm not coming as a substitute for Eto'o because I am a very different player. I come to bring something new," Ibrahimovic said.

"There are many great clubs, but only one like Barcelona"

New Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"No one knows this but months ago I told (Inter president Massimo) Moratti I wanted to play for Barca.

"I told him there was only one team who would be able to buy me. There are many great clubs, but only one like Barcelona."

Ibrahimovic passed a medical earlier in the day, though doctors detected the bone fracture in his left hand, picked up during Inter's recent friendly against Chelsea.

He will undergo surgery on Tuesday to fix the problem.

Ibrahimovic was presented with the number nine shirt and was welcomed by more than 50,000 fans on the Nou Camp pitch.

Eto'o flew to Milan earlier in the day before passing a medical.

History made

The 28-year-old told the Inter website: "I made history at Barcelona, but that history is finished now.

Eto'o arrives in Italy [AFP]
"A new story begins at Inter, I'm starting from scratch, I want a new adventure and I hope everything goes well."

Ibrahimovic will slot in alongside Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi in the heart of Barca's three-pronged attack, and will be out to help them defend their European, and domestic league and cup titles.

Last term's Serie A top scorer is Barca's third close-season signing after Inter's Brazilian left back Maxwell and Brazilian striker Keirrison, though the latter is to be sent out on loan.

Eto'o will play upfront alongside fellow new signing Diego Milito, who joined Inter from Genoa.

Jose Mourinho's side have also brought in Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta from Genoa and defender Lucio from Bayern Munich as they bid to end their poor European form.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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