Chris Coleman refers to Zlatan Ibrahimovic as “a monster of a man”, but he still wants the Swedish striker around to test his Wales side in their final Euro 2016 warm-up game.
Veteran forward Ibrahimovic, who has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United after ending his four-year spell at Paris St Germain, sat out Sweden’s goalless stalemate against Slovenia in Malmo on Monday with a calf injury.
But Wales boss Coleman hopes the 34-year-old will recover in time to take his place at Solna’s Friends Arena on Sunday and line up against his own superstar, Gareth Bale.
“I don’t think any of my players have played against Zlatan,” said Coleman.
“Ben Davies, Ashley Williams, James Chester and Neil Taylor are Premier League players and are playing against top strikers every week.
“But there is only one Zlatan and he is one of a kind on the planet in terms of how he plays.
“He is a monster of a man. He is mobile, scores goals anywhere and any way. It will be a new test for them, but it is not something they will be fearful of.
“They will look forward to the test and it will be a challenge. We need to make sure we are ready for it.”
Bale is set for his first Wales appearance since Euro 2016 qualification was celebrated last October with a routine victory over Andorra.
The 26-year-old was exhausted after Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory last weekend and was barely able to move in the extra-time period because of severe cramp.
But Bale has missed the last three friendlies against Holland, Northern Ireland and Ukraine, and Coleman is keen for him to play some part in Sweden with Wales’ Euro 2016 opener against Slovakia only a week away.
“It was 120 minutes for Gareth last week and it is also what happened 48 hours later,” said Coleman.
“Gareth doesn’t drink alcohol, but it’s the travel and celebrating. So we will look at that.
“But if there is a chance that we can give him some minutes. then yes we will.
“It is important for him to be not only on the training pitch, but the real thing before we kick off.”
Coleman had wanted to play the same side in Sweden which will line up against Slovakia in their Euro 2016 opener.
But Joe Allen, Joe Ledley and Hal Robson-Kanu are all set to be given extra time to shrug off injuries ahead of the big kick-off in Bordeaux.
“I know the 11 I want to play against Slovakia, but between now and then I need to see how the guys are physically,” said Coleman.
“I want to see what they are capable of and how that will impact the week in the build-up to Slovakia.
“But if they are all good and fine we will go in there heavy and strong.
“The Friends Arena is a fantastic venue and Sweden are a good team, it is a good test for us for what is coming next.”