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Scared of the Hoops

Rovers game a concern for Milan great Maldini

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Sportsfile

Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Sportsfile

Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Sportsfile

AC Milan supremo Paolo Maldini admits the Italian giants are "concerned" about Thursday's Europa League clash with Shamrock Rovers in Dublin.

While Rovers have their focus on the run-in to the 2020 league title, eight points clear with seven games to go, Milan are still in pre-season mode.

Thursday's one-off game in Tallaght Stadium will be their first competitive game of the campaign, with their first league match next Monday.

Italian clubs have yet to even concede a goal in six previous European matches against Irish opposition and Milan, who are only back in Europe after a one-year ban for breaching financial fair play rules, are expected to progress past Rovers, though there are doubts over the fitness of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But former Milan player Maldini, now the club's Technical Director, has issued a note of caution.

"It's a game that scares us a lot," he said on Sky Italia. "They (Rovers) are a team that is doing well, first in their league, and we have some problems. Ante Rebic is suspended, Leao is injured. We play away from home in a one-off match, we are rightly concerned."

Ibrahimovic has sat out Milan's last two friendlies due to injury but Italian media reports suggest that he will be fit to play in Dublin in a behind-closed-doors game.