Messi, Ibrahimovic to meet in friendly game

Messi, Ibrahimovic to meet in friendly game

STOCKHOLM - The Associated Press
Messi, Ibrahimovic to meet in friendly game

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, tries to control the ball during his team's Spanish League soccer match against Osasuna, at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. Barcelona won the match 5-1. AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos

The much-anticipated showdown between Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Argentina-Sweden friendly tomorrow night may not last more than a half.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren has suggested he will use Ibrahimovic sparingly as he has a busy club schedule coming up with Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi has 34 league goals for Barcelona this season while Ibrahimovic tops the French league’s scoring table with 20.

The Sweden striker scored four times the last time he put on the national jersey in a 4-2 win over England. His last goal was an acrobatic overhead kick from outside the penalty box that will be hard to top tomorrow night under a closed roof.

Meanwhile, Messi will sign a new contract tomorrow tying him to the Catalan club until 2018, Agence France-Presse said.

“Leo Messi will be the next player to sign a new contract following captains Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez,” Barcelona said in an online statement. “The striker will sign his new contract on Thursday that will tie him to Barcelona until June 30, 2018.”

The club said in December the four-time World Player of the Year would extend his current deal, which runs until 2016, along with teammates Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol who have already put pen to paper on their new contracts.

Messi has again been fundamental as Barca have built up a nine-point advantage at the top of the Spanish league.

The Argentine has scored 34 times in 22 league appearances this season and has found the net in each of his last 12 outings, breaking an all-time Spanish league record.