AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has left off Zlatan Ibrahimović and Sergiño Dest from his Champions League knockout squad. Pioli, like every other coach in the tournament, had to pick an official squad this week. The Italian giants will face Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 of the competition beginning on February 14th.

Ibrahimović has not featured during the current campaign at all because of a serious knee injury. The 41-year-old underwent ACL surgery back in May and is not quite ready to play for the Rossoneri.

Despite not being included in the Champions League squad, Ibrahimović did reportedly train with his teammates on Friday. The center forward will have to attempt an impact on the team in Serie A play.

Dest out of Milan squad because of form, Zlatan recovering from injury

Dest, on the other hand, appears to miss out based on form. Although the American full back did miss the club’s recent match with a muscular injury, it does not appear to be a serious concern. AC Milan acquired Dest on loan to provide cover for the injured Davide Calabria. However, the club captain returned to full fitness. He plays regularly.

Pioli has also opted to include Malick Thiaw in Dest’s place. The versatile defender has only managed four Serie A appearances this season and previously did not feature for AC Milan during the Champions League group stage. Thiaw is a Germany youth international who can play center back and right back.

Star keeper could still feature

Mike Maignan is also off of Pioli’s Champions League squad as well. However, his situation is different than Ibrahimović and Dest. The goalkeeper has been out of action since October because of a calf issue. Maignan can still be added to the squad list up to 24 hours before the Spurs match on Valentine’s Day. Should he be involved, Pioli will have to obviously drop another keeper from the list.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Marco Canoniero