What you see is what you get with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, says on-loan Celtic defender Diego Laxalt of larger than life AC Milan team-mate

There is no front about the self-proclaimed iconic frontman Zlatan Ibrahimovic who will be leading the line for AC Milan at Celtic Park in the clubs’ Europa League opener, according to Diego Laxalt.

Celtic on-loan defender Diego Laxalt admits it could be "weird" after he faces parent club AC Milan (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The on-loan San Siro defender, who will face his parent club in his second game for the Scottish champions, insists the supreme Swedish 39-year-old is as much the showman behind the scenes as he in the public eye. “In real life, Zlatan is exactly the way you see him,” said the Urguayan. “He’s got a fantastic personality but he’s a class player as well. You can see that in the long career he’s had. I could talk all night about Zlatan...”

He won’t talk, though, about any tips he will give those in Celtic colours about how to handle the veteran who netted a double to give his team a 2-1 victory over city rivals Milan on Saturday. ‘These are the sort of things you keep inside the dressing room,” Laxalt said. “But you would treat him like any other players because we have to defend well. But it’s something I will discuss with my team-mates.”

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Laxalt proved equally reticent on whether he would by providing some insider information to Neil Lennon for the clash that follows on from the dispiriting derby defeat at the weekend - despite the Celtic manager stating last week he would be “leaning” on the 27-year-old. “Milan have got a great squad who work well together – but the manager doesn’t need me to tell him that,” he said, diplomatically. “There is a really good staff here at Celtic with the manager and the coaches, and they know what they are doing. They will have us ready for the game.”

Laxalt doesn’t want to dwell on what could be considered the awkward situation of turning out against the club he just left a fortnight ago...and to which he will return at the end of this season. I try not to think about it and I have just prepared for it like it’s any other game,” he said. “It’s not something I will be thinking about, during the game anyway. It might seem a bit weird afterwards having played against my old team but I am at Celtic and will be treating them like a normal opponent.”

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