The Catalan club’s director of sport has urged the team to be cautious against the Rossoneri
Barcelona must be careful not to underestimate the abilities of their Champions League opponents if they are to claim a valuable three points, club legend Andoni Zubizarreta has warned.
The former Spain international stopper was part of the Barca side that suffered humiliation at the hands of the Rossoneri in the 1994 European Cup final, losing 4-0 to the Italian giants.
These days he can be found behind the scenes at the Nou Camp and while he remains a Catalan at heart, the 51-year-old remains all too aware of the threat posed by a Milan side playing in front of their own fans in the San Siro.
Last time Barcelona visited the Italian city, in the last 16 of the Champions League last term, they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of a relatively weak Milan team.
And while they were able to turn the tie around with a 3-0 home win, there is every reason to think the Rossoneri could provide an even sterner test tonight with Mario Balotelli – a player who was not on the books of the Diavolo when these two last met – likely to prove a potent goal threat.
It’s a consideration that Zubizarreta is keen to highlight warning: “Milan is Milan. They’re a historic side, they know how to play competitions like this and make the most of all the positives in their favour.”
The fan favourite was also keen to highlight the Italian club’s defensive abilities with the likes of Philippe Mexes and Cristian Zapata more than able to “cancel their opponents’ virtues”.
Gerardo Martino’s team are hardly in the best goalscoring form either, having been held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Osasuna at the weekend, while Milan claimed a vital home win over Udinese.
A Barcelona victory is arguably the best possible result for the chasing duo of Celtic and Ajax, meanwhile, with the pair meeting at Parkhead tonight knowing that the outcomes of their two encounters could determine both Champions League survival and a potential Europa League place.
image: © olaszmelo